Mississippi's Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Laws and Penalties

Read about the consequences—including fines and jail time—of boating under the influence (BUI) in Mississippi.

By , Attorney

Mississippi not only makes it illegal to drive a car while intoxicated but also to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This article explains Mississippi's boating under the influence (BUI) laws and the penalties you'll face for a BUI conviction.

Mississippi's Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Law

Mississippi law prohibits operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How Mississippi's BUI Law Defines "Under the Influence"

A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a watercraft while:

  • under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other intoxicating substance "so that there is impaired thought and action and loss of normal control of a person's faculties to such an extent as to endanger any person," or
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

In other words, a BUI conviction can be based on BAC or actual impairment.

Mississippi's BUI Law Applies Only to Motorboats

The BUI laws of many states apply to all boats and vessels, regardless of whether they're motorized. But Mississippi's BUI law applies only to "a motorized vessel with a motor of twenty-five (25) horsepower or greater used for transportation on public waters and personal watercraft (jet skis)."

Mississippi's Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Penalties

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:

  • First offense. A first-offense BUI generally carries $250 to $1,000 in fines and/or up to 24 hours in jail. All first offenders must also complete a state-approved boating safety course.
  • Second offense. A second-offense BUI generally carries $600 to $1,000 in fines and either two days to one year in jail or ten days to one year of community service. Boaters convicted of a second BUI also face a one-year boating privilege suspension.
  • Third offense. A third-offense BUI generally carries $800 to $1,000 in fines and 30 days to one year in jail. Boaters convicted of a third BUI also face a two-year boating privilege suspension.

For purposes of determining whether a BUI is a second or third offense, only prior BUIs committed within the past five years count.

Penalties for Mississippi BUIs Involving Injuries or Death

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.

Talk to an Attorney

If you've been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Mississippi, get in contact with an experienced DUI/BUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good DUI 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.

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