Massachusetts law prohibits operating any vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “vessel” means a “watercraft of every description, except a seaplane on the water used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.” (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90B, § 1 (2016).) A person can be convicted of boating under the influence for operating a vessel while:
(Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90B, § 8(a)(1) (2016); Com. v. Connolly, 394 Mass. 169 (1985).)
The possible jail sentences and fines for a BUI conviction depend on whether the offender has previously been convicted or assigned to an alcohol education or rehabilitation program because of a prior BUI or DUI offense. An assignment or BUI conviction counts as a prior—for purposes of jail and fines—when it occurred within six years of the most recent offense. Here's the penalties:
The length of license and boat certificate suspension depends on whether the offender has previously been convicted or assigned to an alcohol education or rehabilitation program because of a prior BUI or DUI offense. An assignment or BUI conviction counts as a prior—for purposes of suspensions—when it occurred within ten years of the most recent offense.
Enhanced penalties apply to BUI offenses involving “serious bodily injury” or death to another.
(Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90B, § § 8A, 8B (2016).)
HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?
Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.
If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.
Massachusetts BUI law is complicated and the facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with an experienced BUI lawyer. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best course of action.