Boating Under The Influence Charges

Harbors and Navigations Section 655 outlaws various offenses related to operating a boat in a dangerous manner or while intoxicated. Subdivisions (b) and (c) are analogous to CVC §23152 (Auto DUI), subdivisions (a) and (b), in that they prohibit operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Subdivision (f) is analogous to CVC §23153(a), outlawing drunk boating with injury. H&N §655.6 is analogous to CVC §23140, except that it prohibits operation of a boat by a person under 21 with a BAC of 0.01% or more.

No DMV APS Action

A drunk boating offense does not result in any DMV/Admin Per Se action under either the excessive BAC statute (CVC §13353.2) or the chemical test refusal statute (CVC §13353). No driver license suspension occurs with a BUI.

No License Suspension

A BUI has no driver license suspension associated with it. However, a BUI will count as a prior offense if you ever get another DUI or BUI within 10 years. This will result in additional punishment in any later DUI conviction.

BUI Counts As A Prior

Drunk boating convictions count as drunk driving priors (CVC §23620)., which means a drunk boating conviction is counted as a prior conviction for both sentencing and DMV purposes if you ever get a DUI or BUI within 10 years of the current offense.

Court Punishment

1st Offense

2nd Offense


Up to 6 months

Up to 1 year

BUI Program

Boating Safety Course

18 month DUI Program

May Be Ordered


Up to $1000

Up to $1000


Not Mandatory

Not Mandatory

BUI Defenses

The same issues arise in a boating DUI as in an auto DUI. The state must still prove that you were (1) operating the vessel, and (2) you were either under the influence, or (3) over a 0.08% BAC. The same forensic defenses apply in BUI cases.

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Because you have so much to lose, you need the most experienced and aggressive BUI Defense attorneys on your side. Whether it’s defending you in trial or negotiating for dismissal, you can count on us. Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in better outcomes for our clients including reduced charges, lesser jail days, and smaller fines. Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 to speak directly to an attorney about your BUI case. We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.