In addition to DUI laws that prohibit driving a car or truck while intoxicated, Ohio has laws that make it illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This article covers Ohio's boating under the influence (BUI) laws and the penalties you'll face for a BUI conviction.
Ohio law prohibits operating or being in physical control of a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:
In other words, you can get a BUI based on actual impairment or the concentration of drugs or alcohol in your system.
Ohio's BUI law comes into play when a boater is under the influence and the vessel is not securely affixed to a dock, shore, or permanent structure or anchored in a designated anchorage area or boat camping area.
Ohio's BUI law doesn't say it's only applicable to motorboats. So, a boater could theoretically get a BUI on a sailboat or another type of non-motorized vessel
The consequences of an Ohio BUI generally depend on whether the offender has prior BUI or OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) convictions. BUIs are first-degree misdemeanors with the following penalties:
A judge might also require a BUI offender to complete a boating safety course.
If you've been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Ohio, get in contact with an experienced OVI/BUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good 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.