Can You Get a DUI for Boating Under the Influence in Pennsylvania?

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dui boating under the influencepennsylvania pa

Going for a summertime boat ride out on the lake might sound like a wonderful leisure activity, especially if you were to partake in some alcoholic beverages or drugs. However, by doing so, you place yourself not only at risk of sustaining or inflicting significant injuries but put yourself in serious legal jeopardy. While we can’t stress enough how important it is that you never consume alcohol or drugs before or during the operation of a moving vehicle, you should understand the consequences of doing so. For more information on boating under the influence in Pennsylvania, please read on, then contact an experienced Pittsburgh first DUI lawyer today.

Is boating under the influence permitted in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Statutory law not only prohibits the operation of a boat while under the influence, i.e. BUI, but it also prohibits the operation of “watercraft” while under the influence. In the Keystone State, no person can operate any watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Under this definition, you can’t have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher and operate any of the following:

  • Boats of any size or shape
  • Ships
  • Hovercrafts
  • Kayaks
  • Rafts
  • Canoes
  • Inner tubes

Furthermore, alcohol is prohibited on land and water at all state parks and at most U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers have the authority to stop and test a vessel operator if they feel reasonable suspicion exists.

What are the penalties for boating under the influence in Pennsylvania?

Boating under the influence is a serious offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its penalties depend on the number of times, if any, you have previously sustained convictions for this offense and your level of intoxication at the time of the arrest. The definitions and penalties are as follows:

Alcohol-impairment BUI:

  • First offense:
    • Maximum six-month jail sentence
    • Minimum six-month term of probation
    • A $300 fine
  • Second offense:
    • Five days to six months in jail
    • A fine between $300 and $2,500
  • Third offense:
    • Ten days to two years in jail
    • $500 to $5,000 in fines

Per se BUI (BAC between 0.08% and 0.1%)

  • First offense
    • Maximum six-month jail sentence
    • Minimum six-month term of probation
    • A $300 fine
  • Second offense:
    • Five days to six months in jail
    • Fines between $300 and $2,500
  • Third offense:
    • Ten days to two years in jail
    • Fines between $500 and $5,000

High-Rate-of-Alcohol BUI (BAC between 0.1% and 0.16%)

  • First offense:
    • Forty-eight hours to six months in jail
    • Fines between $500 and $5,000
  • Second offense:
    • Thirty days to six months in jail
    • Fines between $750 to $5,000
  • Third offense:
    • Ninety days to five years in jail
    • Fines between $1,500 and $10,000

Highest-Rate-of-Alcohol BUI (BAC of 0.16% or higher) and Drug BUIs:

  • First offense:
    • Seventy-two hours to six months in jail
    • Fines between $1,000 and $5,000
  • Second offense:
    • Ninety days to five years in jail
    • Fines between $1,500 and $10,000
  • Third offense:
    • One to five years in jail
    • Fines between $2,500 and $10,000

Regardless of how many times you have sustained convictions for this offense or your BAC, you should reach out to a skilled Allegheny County DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

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If you are facing a DUI charge, contact The Law Offices of George Heym to schedule your free initial consultation.

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