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Boating Under The Influence Explained

Tennessee has plenty of shoreline to enjoy. Whether it is on a river, in a lake, or out on the ocean, there are plenty of places to go boating and enjoy the waves. If this is what you plan on doing, be aware of the laws of the water that you are on.

One law in particular is prominent no matter which body of water you are boating on. This law is: Don’t drink and boat. It feels silly to say, but it is very important. Just like you shouldn’t drink and drive, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a boat while intoxicated. Doing so can get you a BUI.

Again, it seems silly, but a BUI is a real thing. In case you couldn’t figure it out, BUI stands for boating under the influence. Boating under the influence is a crime under Tennessee Harbors and Navigation. This law makes it a crime to operate any water craft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Basically, anything that would get a person a DUI, will get them a BUI as well. BUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony in Tennessee. The severity of the charges is dependent on the facts of the case.

Penalties For BUI

The penalties for a misdemeanor BUI include:

  • First offense. A first-offense BUI generally carries up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, $250 to $2,500 in fines, and a maximum one-year boating privilege suspension.
  • Second offense. A second-offense BUI generally carries up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, $500 to $2,500 in fines, and a two-year boating privilege suspension.
  • Third offense. A third or subsequent BUI generally carries 30 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and a three to ten-year boating privilege suspension.

If the crime is charged as a felony, a person can face up to 3 years in prison. Everyone wants to go out and have fun. However, drinking while boating is a big mistake. Doing so can be just as dangerous as drinking while driving. Don’t risk your life or others’ by causing BUI.

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