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:
Below, we discuss some of the possible consequences of BUI convictions involving these different circumstances.
Generally, a standard first-offense BUI is a class B misdemeanor and carries:
A judge can also order a BUI offender to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
A BUI is considered an "aggravated" offense if the offender:
Most aggravated BUIs are class A misdemeanors and generally carry:
However, an aggravated BUI that involves "serious bodily injury" to another is a class B felony. Convicted boaters face:
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.
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:
As a condition of license reinstatement, the court can order the offender to install and maintain an IID for up to five years.
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.