Mississippi law prohibits operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “watercraft” means “a motorized vessel with a motor of twenty-five (25) horsepower or greater used for transportation on public waters and personal watercraft (jet skis).” (Miss. Code. Ann. § 59-23-3(f) (2016).) A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a watercraft while:
(Miss. Code. Ann. § § 59-23-3(b), 59-23-7(1) (2016).)
The consequences of a Mississippi BUI depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, a BUI is a misdemeanor, and the possible penalties are:
For purposes of determining whether a BUI is a second or third offense, only prior BUI committed with the past five years count. (Miss. Code. Ann. § 59-23-7(2) (2016).)
Generally, BUI offenders who cause accidents where someone is killed, or some part of another person is mutilated, disfigured, or permanently disabled can be convicted of a felony and face up to ten years in prison. (Miss. Code. Ann. § 59-23-7(4) (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.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Mississippi, get in contact with an experienced BUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good BUI attorney should be able to explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best course of action.