Boating Under the Influence (RCW 79A.60.040) in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor. This means that you can be facing up to a year minus a day in jail, and a financial penalty of up to $5000. There is no automatic driver’s license suspension for a BUI; or for refusal to ‘blow’ for a breathalyzer test. However, refusal to take the test may result in a civil infraction with its own fine of up to $2050 per Washington State Parks, also note that BUI applies to non-motorized craft as well. So even just relaxing on a raft with a beer could, in theory, get you charged.
Like an automotive DUI, you can get a BUI not only for alcohol, but any other drug, such as marijuana, or over the counter or prescription medications. A BUI will also count as a prior offense if later charged with DUI, greatly increasing the penalties.
Additionally, a BUI, just like a DUI, is a criminal offense not a mere traffic/civil infraction. However for a first offense the maximum punishment is very unlikely, and may even be reduced to a Civil Infraction, ‘Negligent Boating’ (RCW 79A.60.030)
Phillip L. Weinberg
I have more than 20 years of experience defending my clients’ rights. I handle all cases personally from start to finish, ensuring that each of my clients gains the full benefit of my many years of experience. At my firm, there are no associates right out of law school showing up in court knowing practically nothing about you or your case, I know my way around the courts and how they work. Throughout my career, I have learned that the best approach is not always the most aggressive one, though sometimes there is no other choice. My first goal in every case is the dismissal of my client’s charge(s). In many situations, however, I have found that negotiation offers better opportunities for success.When you work with me your case will never be passed off to a paralegal or a less-experienced associate. I am a solo practitioner and always have been.