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BUI Update for Seafair 2012 from Bellevue, WA BUI Attorney

Hughes Robbins, P.S. July 31, 2012

It’s that time of year again: Seafair! As you prepare for your weekend on the water, keep in mind that the Washington State Patrol will be in full force on the roads and on the water.

Last Seafair Sunday, 554 Lake Washington boats were contacted by authorities from the Mercer Island Police Marine Patrol, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Seattle Police and Harbor Patrol, the King County Sherriff’s Office of Marine Patrol, the Coast Guard and the state patrol. Of those boats, there were 71 arrests for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and 3 arrests for minor in possession.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boaters is the same as that for drivers – 0.08%. Boaters who are caught with a BAC above this percentage will be charged with BUI, which is considered to be a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of a BUI, the maximum sentence is up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $1000 plus costs, fees and assessments.

Boating under the influence is a serious charge; however, it is not treated as harshly as driving under the influence. If you are accused of BUI, you will not face a department of licensing revocation if you decline a requested blood or breath test. You also will not see an increase in your punishment if you have been convicted of multiple BUIs. Finally, unlike DUI, offenders will not face any mandatory punishments; there are no minimum fines or jail sentences.

It is important to have a designated driver on the water at all times. If you or anyone you know are caught boating under the influence, contact Scott Robbins.

Happy boating!