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What Happens to Your Nevada Boating License When You’re Caught for DUI on a Boat?


In Nevada, you can also be arrested for navigating and having control of a boat while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and other prohibited substances that render you incapable of having a sound mind and a sound judgment. This is called BUI (Boating under the Influence) and it incurs certain penalties. Having said that begs the question: what happens to a Nevada boating license during an arrest and eventual conviction? Does it get suspended like what happens in a standard DUI (Driving under the Influence) case? Proceed reading to learn the answer and other facts about DUI on a boat in Nevada.

Nevada Boating Laws on BUI

The Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 488 Section 410 outlaws anyone to be in “actual physical control of a vessel under power or sail…” in Nevada if their blood and urine levels go beyond the alcohol and substance limits set by the State law. For alcohol, it is the standard 0.08 concentration while the standard for drugs varies from substance to substance. You can read about the blood and urine level limits here.

Know that it does not matter what type of boat you are navigating. Whether it is a yacht or a speedboat, you can still be arrested for BUI. Be reminded that the State is also very vigilant when it comes to Nevada boating laws, as reflected by their efforts in the past years. Starting 2013, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) had put a stronger focus on implementing BUI laws, providing increased patrols and surveillance on popular lakes such as Lake Mead, Lake Tahoe, and the South Fork Reservoir. During special occasions like the Operation Dry Weekend, the police department is on an intense crackdown to catch anyone who is committing DUI on a boat.

People drink all the time in boats, but though it is perfectly legal, too much consumption can lead sailors and navigators to make errors in judgment which could cause boating accidents.

Penalties of BUI

Know that being caught for DUI on a boat does not instantly equate to you being convicted. Even if the results of your tests proved that you are well above the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit, everything should be tried in court, especially if you have a strong defense yourself. Nonetheless, if found guilty, the penalties for BUI are as follows:

First conviction

A first BUI is a misdemeanor sentence and warrants six months in jail and fines not exceeding $1,000. If there are any grave injury, deaths, or property damages, the conviction can instantly become a category B felony offense which carries two to 20 years prison term and fines that go up to $5,000.

Second conviction

A BUI conviction for a second time is also a category B felony and holds two to 15 years in prison and fines amounting to $2,000 to $5,000.

When you are caught by the State or the U.S. Court Guard crossing state lines while under the influence, you will be under the federal government’s jurisdiction.

Nevada Boating License Suspension in BUI

Cutting to the chase, the answer is no. Your Nevada boating license cannot be suspended even if you are found guilty of BUI. Simply because Nevada boating licenses do not actually exist in the State but better referred to as a boating safety certificate. This is a necessity for people born on or after January 1, 1983, and should not be affected by a BUI offense. Your driver’s license will also not be suspended, revoked, or touched in any way.

To secure a boating safety certificate, a Nevada citizen must undergo and pass a safety course courtesy of National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Defenses against BUI

You can contest the proceedings of the arrest and use it as your defense. For example, you can say that your boat was stopped in an unlawful manner or the coast guard or the police had done misconduct during the taking of the tests. And since arrests are based on the blood and urine levels, you can challenge the results by saying the devices used were faulty and see your case be dismissed. Your Las Vegas DUI lawyer should help you with this matter.

It is not only in the land where the dangers of navigating a motorized vehicle while under the influence can be found. There also are risks in lakes and the sea. One of the key things you will learn on a boating safety course to get a Nevada boating license is that you should not navigate while under the influence. Being caught for the very offense is a betrayal of what you had learned and should help you realize if you do deserve the Nevada boating license at all.

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