New Hampshire BUI Penalties

Read about the consequences of being convicted of drunk boating in New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire, it’s illegal to operate or attempt to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The penalties for boating under the influence (BUI) depend on a number of factors, including whether:

  • the boater has prior BUI or DUI convictions
  • the offense is a standard or “aggravated” BUI, and
  • anyone was killed.

Below, we discuss some of the possible consequences of BUI convictions involving these different circumstances. Our “New Hampshire’s Boating Under the Influence Laws” article explains how New Hampshire defines “boating under the influence” and the difference between standard and aggravate BUI offenses.

First Offense

Generally, a standard first-offense BUI is a class B misdemeanor and carries:

  • $500 to $1,200 in fines
  • a boating privilege suspension of one year, and
  • a three-month to two-year driver’s license suspension.

A judge can also order a BUI offender to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:18(I), 265-A:20, 265-A:30, 651:2(III) (2016).)

New Hampshire judges must refer all boaters convicted of a first BUI to an Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP) for alcohol and drug abuse screening. If the screening shows a likelihood of a substance abuse disorder, the boater is required to do a full evaluation and follow the service plan recommended by the IDCMP provider. First offenders typically must also complete an Impaired Driver Education Program (IDEP)—consisting of 20 hours of substance abuse education—before they’re allowed to reinstate their license. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:18(I) (2016).)

Second Offense

A BUI counts as a second offense if the offender has a prior BUI or DUI conviction that occurred within the past ten years. Typically, a second-offense BUI is a class A misdemeanor and carries:

  • $750 to $2,000 in fines
  • five days to one year in jail (30 days minimum if the second BUI was within two years of a prior)
  • a one-year boating privilege suspension, and
  • a minimum three-year driver’s license suspension.

The judge must refer all second-BUI offenders to an IDCMP for screening, and the offender must complete any treatment recommended by the IDCMP provider. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:18(IV), 265-A:20, 265-A:30, 651:2 (2016).)

Third Offense

A BUI counts as a third offense if the offender has two prior BUI or DUI convictions that occurred within the past ten years. Typically, a third-offense BUI is a class A misdemeanor and carries:

  • $750 to $2,000 in fines
  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • a one-year boating privilege suspension, and
  • a minimum five-year driver’s license suspension.

The judge must refer all third-BUI offenders to an IDCMP for screening, and the offender must complete any treatment recommended by the IDCMP provider. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:18(IV), 265-A:20, 265-A:30, 651:2 (2016).)

Aggravated BUI

Most aggravated BUIs are class A misdemeanors and generally carry:

  • $750 to $2,000 in fines
  • five days to one year in jail
  • a one-year boating privilege suspension, and
  • a 12-month to two-year driver’s license suspension.

However, an aggravated BUI that involves “serious bodily injury” to another is a class B felony. Convicted boaters face:

  • $1,000 to $4,000 in fines
  • 14 days to seven years imprisonment
  • a one-year boating privilege suspension, and
  • a 12-month to two-year driver’s license suspension.

Judges must refer all aggravated-BUI offenders to an IDCMP for screening, and the offender must complete any treatment recommended by the IDCMP provider. And all aggravated-BUI offenders are required to have IIDs for 12 months to two years after license reinstatement. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:18(I), 265-A:20, 265-A:30, 265-A:36, 651:2 (2016).)

BUI Involving Death

A person who causes the death of another while boating under the influence can be convicted of “negligent homicide,” a class A felony. Boaters convicted of negligent homicide typically face:

  • up to 15 years in prison
  • a maximum of $4,000 in fines
  • a one-year boating privilege suspension, and
  • a driver’s license suspension of at least seven years.

As condition of license reinstatement, the court can order the offender to install and maintain an IID for up to five years. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 265-A:20, 630:3, 651:2 (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.

Talk to an Attorney

New Hampshire 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.

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