Boating Under the Influence in California
During the warm summer months, many individuals and groups like to spend time on a boat. Boating is a fun past time for many, with people choosing to drink while on the boat. However, some may not be aware that boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in the state of California. Those who operate boats in state waters should be aware of the law and its legal consequences. While this article refers to boats, the law includes, but is not limited to, water skis, tour boats, and other vessels.
The Elements of the Crime
According to California Harbors & Navigation Code 655, boating under the influence is a legal violation. The offense can occur in a few different ways, but most importantly, it deals with the operator of the boat and not the passengers. One of the ways an individual can be found guilty of this crime is if the prosecution can prove that the operator of the boat had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Regardless of whether an injury occurred, or you were visibly impaired, the BAC will be used as evidence against you.
Penalties for Boating Under the Influence
Committing this offense is a serious act. Those who commit the violation the first time will face a misdemeanor, which will require potential jail time as well as paying fines. However, if you are found guilty a second time (or on even further occassions) or have convictions for other crimes such as a DUI (driving a motor vehicle while under the influence), the jail time can increase. If the offense caused injury, the guilty party could face a misdemeanor or even a felony, with stricter sentences.