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A Primer on DUI Boating in Nevada


Driving under the influence is one of the more common criminal offenses one can be charged with in Las Vegas. With the abundance of night spots and establishments that offer hard liquor throughout the city, there is sure to be at least one case of a DUI arrest at any given time of the day. One of the rarer instances related to these kinds of charges is boating under the influence, DUI boating, or simply BUI.

DUI boating isn’t really any different from the usual slew of DUI or DWI charges one can receive in Las Vegas, or any other part of Nevada. Most of the circumstances related to DUI boating cases are actually just DUI circumstances applied to a different vehicle. However, it is still a good practice to know more about a drunk boating case so that setting up a DUI defense in Las Vegas courts will be easier.

The Ground Rules

As stated earlier, DUI boating isn’t really that distinct from a typical DUI charge, in Nevada or elsewhere. Blood alcohol level limits are still pretty much the same, with legal prerequisites setting the limits at 0.08% BAC like everybody else. Some of the more common penalties also still apply, like hefty fines or extended jail time for a misdemeanor, and a more than a decade of incarceration with matching financial penalties for a felony.

Much like normal DUI, DUI boating charges can also deal a severe blow to any business that the defendant is related with. The owner or operator of the vessel operated by a DUI boating defendant may face a possible suspension or outright revocation of their license to operate in the event of a conviction. This comes on top of administrative penalties and additional fines that both the defendant and his or her operator may have to face.

Stop for a Check

It is common in most Las Vegas streets to have a DUI checkpoint set up to ensure that any suspected inebriated or drugged drivers can be apprehended before they can cause significant harm to themselves, their passengers, and the other people on the road. It is a standard measure that can be made at random, without the need for a prerequisite incident involving drunk drivers. The police have every right to stop a person they suspect to be drunk driving, although defense lawyers will be quick to point out that they must still abide by certain rules.

A few people unfamiliar with boating rules may think that DUI boating checkpoints are only limited to the wharfs and docks. This is not the case, as police officers or Coast Guardsmen in fast craft can be patrolling notably busy water lanes to check out on possible DUI boaters. Not much of a difference can be seen in procedure, as per se laws still apply; nonetheless, slight differences in procedures can still be observed, as in some cases law enforcers can and will board a vessel to conduct a sobriety test if circumstances allow.

What sets it Apart

Essentially, DUI boating charges are not that far apart from the more traditional DUI cases. They both involve intoxicating substances affecting drivers, and they both have a high potential of causing severe damage to themselves and other people around them in the event that they get too inebriated to focus. The penalties are largely the same, as well.

However, some may argue that DUI boating is more dangerous than standard DUI cases. The Coast Guard has noted that inebriated individuals who get involved in boating accidents are at a higher risk of death than those involved in roadway DUI accidents. For example, intoxication can cause disorientation and excessive body warmth, which may only be minor issues in a road collision but can lead to a high chance of drowning and hypothermia.

DUI boating cases still pose the same legal hurdles that one can expect from a typical DUI case in Nevada. However, keep in mind that the potential repercussions in terms of physical harm may be greater in a DUI boating scenario than one can expect from a typical DUI accident. Always take these repercussions into account before things get out of hand, and should one be charged with DUI boating in Las Vegas, know that there is a veteran DUI lawyer that is always ready to help.

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