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Fun on the water comes in ample doses during the summer months for Erie residents and legions of other individuals and families living in Pennsylvania. Boating especially is an activity that is enjoyed on lakes and rivers across the state.

Many people who flock to Pennsylvania’s waterways would be hard pressed to cite any potential downsides related to on-the-water relaxation. Provided that obvious safety concerns are well addressed, what could conceivably intrude to dampen the good times?

A BUI could, and in a major way.

Many readers of our blog might understandably be unfamiliar with that acronym. Its formal legal designation is “boating under the influence.”

And its bottom line is this, as many individuals quickly learn after being stopped while boating and subsequently convicted on a BUI-linked criminal charge: The consequences for operating a boat in Pennsylvania while being under the influence of alcohol can be just as severe as those that attach to more common DUI offenses.

One online overview of Pennsylvania BUI spotlights those repercussions in some detail. It centrally notes that a BUI outcome will depend on the specific classification of the offense that law enforcers invoke in a given matter. The following possibilities link directly to the amount of alcohol that a boater has consumed:

  • Boating while impaired by alcohol
  • Per se BUI (blood-alcohol content between.08% and .1%)
  • “High rate of alcohol” BUI (BAC between .1% and .16%)
  • “Highest rate of alcohol” BUI (BAC exceeding .16%)

Unsurprisingly, the penalties imposed for BUI tie directly to the level of intoxication. A BUI charge at even the lowest rung can yield penalties that include a months-long jail lock up, hundreds of dollars in fines and a probationary term. A truly serious offense can exponentially increase all those exactions. A felony can result in a BUI case spotlighting a serious bodily injury or death for any person. That “aggravated assault by watercraft” charge carries a potential prison term of up to 10 years.

Boating under the influence can yield some notably stark downsides. Questions or concerns regarding BUI can be directed to a criminal defense legal team with a demonstrated record of strong advocacy defending clients against alcohol-linked charges.

If you’re charged with a DUI, BUI or another criminal offense, contact our Erie office at 814-833-2222 to get started with your defense strategy.