Boating is a popular recreational activity in New Jersey, offering residents and visitors countless opportunities to enjoy the vast coastal and inland waterways. However, you must understand the legal implications of mixing alcohol with boating. If caught doing this, it can lead to severe consequences, including charges like driving under the influence (DUI).
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws in New Jersey
New Jersey's BUI laws are stipulated under N.J.S.A. 12:7-46. According to this statute, it is illegal to operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, or habit-producing drugs. A person is under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher or if their ability to operate the vessel is impaired due to substance use.
Potential consequences of a BUI conviction
The consequences of a BUI conviction in New Jersey can be severe and are determined by the offender's BAC level, as well as any prior convictions. First-time offenders with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.099% face a fine ranging from $250 to $400, a minimum of 12 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and a potential loss of boating privileges for one year. If the BAC level is 0.10% or higher, the fine increases to $300-$500, and the offender may lose their boating privileges for up to two years.Repeat offenders face even more severe penalties. A second conviction can result in a fine of $500-$1,000, 30 days of community service, up to 90 days in jail, and a two-year loss of boating privileges. A third or subsequent conviction carries a fine of $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, and a ten-year loss of boating privileges.In addition to these penalties, a BUI conviction can lead to increased insurance premiums, potential loss of employment, and a negative impact on one's reputation. New Jersey's BUI laws are stringent, and the consequences of breaking these regulations can have long-lasting effects on an individual's life. Knowing and protecting your legal rights is essential if you are arrested for BUI.