Operating a boat or other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is against the law in Virginia. While nearly everyone is familiar with driving while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is a lesser-known offense that can result in equally serious penalties. If you’ve been arrested and charged with this violation, your first priority should be retaining the services of an experienced DUI attorney.
The Wilson Law Firm focuses completely on Virginia DUI defense. Our attorneys are extensively trained and seasoned in all aspects of DUI defense: with certification in field sobriety testing as well as the administration of the state’s Breathalyzer machine. We know the laws, procedures, case law, forensics, and other aspects of the science behind DUI and BWI cases. We can apply our knowledge and legal skills to help you obtain a favorable result when arrested for BWI in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Boating Under the Influence Law in Virginia
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08 percent or higher on a Breathalyzer test or if you were seen to be impaired by drugs found in your system through a blood test, you can be charged with boating while intoxicated in Virginia. Like other states, Virginia maintains an implied consent law, meaning that when you are given a boating license you automatically agree to submit to a breath or blood test when suspected of being intoxicated. If you refuse to submit to such a test when requested to do so, your operating privileges will likely be revoked.
Virginia BUI law applies to anyone operating a boat, sailboat, yacht, or other personal watercraft including water skis, sailboards, or other water devices. Those under the age of 21 will be in violation of BWI law if their BAC measures .02 percent or more or if they are seen to be impaired by alcohol or drugs. This is in line with Virginia’s zero-tolerance law as applied to underage drinking and driving.
Penalties for Virginia BUI
If you are convicted of boating while intoxicated or boating under the influence, you face the following penalties in Virginia:
- Fines of up to $2,500
- Jail time of up to one year
- Loss of your operator’s license for up to three years
- Mandatory enrollment and completion of a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program
Those in violation of Virginia BWI law who cause accidents involving property damage, injuries, or fatalities may face more serious charges with harsher penalties as will those who are convicted on repeat offenses.
Talk to a Virginia BUI Attorney Today
When you want results, you go to an expert for professional services. At The Wilson Law Firm, we focus on results through intensive legal work from your initial consultation to the final outcome. Throughout every phase of the process, we will be on your side, exhausting all legal avenues on your behalf. To help you get started, we offer a free case consultation in which we can review the details of your BUI to give you an idea of where you stand, what to expect throughout the legal process, what your options may be, and the steps we will take to fully assist you.
Accused of operating watercraft while impaired? Don’t proceed with your BWI charge without talking to us first about your boating DUI. Free consultation. Call 24/7.