What Are The Penalties for Boating Under The Influence in Michigan?
Like a typical Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, the penalties for boating under the influence in Michigan are steep. Michigan has some of the harshest drunk driving laws in the nation, and boating under the influence (BUI) is no exception. If you’re facing charges, immediately speak with a BUI attorney.
Michigan has historically held the record for most registered boats in the country (and has over 11,000 inland lakes in addition to the five great lakes).
This makes BUI a very common charge in the state, especially during holiday weekends such as Labor Day.
Below, we outline the typical penalties associated with boating under the influence in Michigan and how to fight a BUI charge.
Similar to OWI, the consequences for BUI are as follows:
First offense: Misdemeanor; up to 45 days of community service, a maximum of 93 days in jail, and/or fines ranging from $100 to $500. Possible suspension of motorboat operation for one (1) to two (2) years.
Second offense: Misdemeanor; up to 90 days community service and up to one year in jail, and/or $200 to $1,000 in fines. Mandatory suspension of motorboat operation for at least two (2) years.
Third offense: Felony; one (1) year to five (5) years in jail and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines. If you have two priors within the past ten (10) years, the court must suspend your privilege to operate a motorboat indefinitely.
First offense: Misdemeanor; up to 45 days of community service, a maximum of 93 days in jail, and/or a maximum fine of $300. Possible suspension of motorboat operation for six (6) months to one (1) year.
Second offense: Misdemeanor; mandatory sentence of up to 90 days community service, up to one (1) year in jail and/or $200 to $1,000 in fines. Mandatory suspension of motorboat operation for one (1) to two (2) years.
Third offense: Misdemeanor; mandatory sentence of up to 90 days community service, up to one year in jail, and/or $200 to $1,000 in fines. up to 90 days community service (option two). If you have two more priors within the past ten years, the court must suspend your privilege to operate a motorboat indefinitely.
If you were charged with BUI, being able to negotiate a lesser plea of BWVI is possible with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney by your side.
Michigan takes the safety of minors very seriously. That’s why BUI offenses are handled extra harshly if there was a passenger under 16 years old with you.
The penalties for boating under the influence with a passenger under 16 years old are as follows:
First offense: Misdemeanor; $200 to $1,000 in fines, mandatory sentence of five (5) days to one (1) year in jail or 30 to 90 days of community service.
Second AND Third offense: Felony; $500 to $5,000 in fines. Mandatory suspension of one (1) to five (5) years in prison OR 30 days to one year in jail and 60 to 180 days of community service.
This offense is often grouped with additional charges, such as child endangerment. This will add more fines, jail time, and/or community service.
BUI Involving Injuries of Death
As expected, this is by far the most serious BUI charge.
If you caused “serious impairment of a body function of another person” while operating a motorboat under the influence, you will face a felony. This holds a prison sentence of up to five (5) years and/or fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
If you caused the death of another person while operating a motorboat under the influence, the offense is a felony and carries up to 15 years in prison and/or fines from $2,500 to $10,000.
Avoid Harsh Boating Under the Influence Penalties with the Right Lawyer
A BUI is a serious offense. However, there may be ways to defend your case or seek a reduced charge.
We understand that poor judgement and the relaxed attitude the water brings can lead to unfortunate mistakes. Most of the time, those charged with boat violations are those who don’t have a prior criminal record.
Attorney Morris is trial lawyer who has been providing high-quality legal representation in the areas of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years. He’s known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he’s dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is always prepared to successfully take on complex legal issues. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society, and is the only forensic lawyer-scientist in Michigan. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He’s also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris is consistently chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit and for DUI/OWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. He has also been chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense.