With Memorial Day weekend upon us and sunny summer days ahead, Central Oregonians and visitors to the region may be preparing to take boats out on the water. Many counties in Oregon have not opened from COVID-19 closures, but with more resuming “normal” activities each week, it’s important to know what the regulations are concerning operating a boat while under the influence of intoxicants. If you plan on hitting the open waters at a lake or river in Central Oregon this summer, understand the laws as they apply to boats with and without motors.
Boating Under the Influence in Oregon
Like driving under the influence, boating under the influence of intoxicants including alcohol, cannabis and controlled substances (including prescription medication) is illegal in the state of Oregon. According to ORS 830.325, no person under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or controlled substance shall operate, propel or be in actual physical control of any boat on any waters in Oregon. Additionally, the owner of a boat or the person in charge or in control of the boar shall authorize or knowingly permit the boat to be propelled or operated by any person under the influence of intoxicants.
The important words to recognize in this statute are “operate, propel or be in actual physical control of any boat on any waters.” In Oregon, BUI laws apply to both motorized and non-motorized watercraft. In addition to a fishing boat, jet ski or speedboat, you can also receive a BUI on a standup paddleboard, kayak, canoe and inflatable rafts, for example.
Just as with a DUII in Oregon, the blood alcohol content (BAC) legal limit is .08. This is the presumptive legal limit, which means you can still be charged with a BUII if you’re impaired by a controlled substance, alcohol or a combination fo the two to a degree that your physical and mental facilities are adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree. This means, just as with a DUII, you can get a BUII based on actual impairment or a BAC that’s over the legal limit.
BUI Penalties in Oregon
When arrested for boating under the influence in Oregon, scheduled bail amounts range from $3,500 to $6,250. Boating under the influence is a Class A misdemeanor and a person convicted of a BUI can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail and fined as much as $6,250. A BUI conviction also counts as one of a person’s first three arrests for driving under the influence of intoxicants.
If you are convicted of a BUI, you will not be allowed to operate a boat for one year and you will be required to take a boating safety course. All boat registrations in your name will be suspended for up to three years as part of your BUI penalties in Oregon. Keep in mind that it is a Class A misdemeanor for a person to knowingly operate a boat in violation of a court order for conviction of boating under the influence. Some counties in Oregon may reduce the BUII charge from a crime to a violation similar to a traffic ticket.
A BUI Lawyer Can Help
In Oregon, a boating under the influence of intoxicants charge applies to a variety of water vessels. If you own a boat and allow an intoxicated person to drive or operate it, you could also be charged with a BUII. At Nelson Law, Ricky R. Nelson has the experience to defend your BUI case with the skill and finesse of an experienced DUI lawyer in Central Oregon.
Contact Nelson Law today for a free consultation when seeking a BUI defense lawyer in Central Oregon.