With many people heading out on their boats this summer, we want to ensure readers remain safe and avoid drinking and boating, which carries penalties similar to DUIs/DWIs.
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources recognizes two general classifications of boating under the influence:
Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
A person can be convicted of a BUI for operating a vessel while “under the influence” of alcohol. Maryland’s BUI statute doesn’t define “under the influence.” Their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher.
Boating While Impaired (BWI)
A person can be convicted of a BWI for operating a vessel while “impaired by any drug, combination of drugs, or combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person cannot operate a vessel safely.”
What Types of Vehicles Count as Boats?
The following watercraft are subject to Maryland’s State Boat Act and arrested for a BUI or BWI:
- Personal watercraft
- Jet skis
- Passenger vessels
- Any other motorized watercraft
Maryland BUI Penalties
A first-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to one year of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
A second-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to two years of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $2,000 in fines.
Third or Subsequent Offense
A third-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to three years of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $3,000 in fines. A judge can also suspend the boating privileges of any BUI offender who refused a chemical test in violation of Maryland’s implied consent laws or had a BAC of .08% or higher for up to one year.
Maryland BWI Penalties
A first-offense BWI is a misdemeanor and carries up to two months of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $500 in fines.
Second or Subsequent Offense
A second-offense BWI is a misdemeanor and carries up to one year of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
Work with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Our legal team is here to help with your boating under the influence case and has years of experience serving Maryland residents in a variety of criminal defense situations. Request a free case review by either calling our Downtown Baltimore or Dundalk office. Alternatively, you can share details about your case using our online form.