Although it may not feel like it just yet warm weather is around the corner and that means people will be taking to the waterways soon. Often overlooked is that Boating Under the Influence is a crime in Massachusetts. In Fact Massachusetts has one of the toughest criminal statutes for BUI in the country. M.G.L Chapter 90B Section 8 provides that “No person shall operate any vessel on the waters of the commonwealth with a percentage, by weight, of alcohol in their blood of eight one-hundredths or greater, or while such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressant or stimulant substances.” Additionally, the criminal penalty for Boating Under the Influence is a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment up to two and a half years.
Of some final consideration is whether this is a subsequent BUI. Boating under the influence severity of punishments increase if the accused has been previously convicted within the previous six years or ten years for 4th and 5th offenses. In practical terms this means that the prosecutor must have a second trial if you are found guilty of a BUI at the first trial, this is what is referred to a bifurcated trial. The prosecutor at this second trial has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is in fact you that has been previously convicted. Proving the subsequent portion is often done through certified court documents, live testimony and registry of motor vehicle records. Again, this element tends to be hyper technical and requires an experienced attorney to combat it. below is a listing of penalties for subsequent BUI offenses.
BUI/BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE PENALTIES IN MASSACHUSETTS
PENALTY IF 2nd OFFENSE BUI WITHIN 6 Years
Incarceration in the House of Corrections: Not less than 14 days, not more than 2 ½ years Fine: $300-$1,000
PENALTY 3rd OFFENSE BUI WITHIN 6 Years
Incarceration in the House of Corrections: Not less than 180 days, not more than 2 ½ years
PENALTY 4th OFFENSE BUI WITHIN 10 Years
Incarceration in the House of Corrections: Not less than 2 years (1 year Minimum Mandatory), not more than 10 years state prison
PENALTY 5th OFFENSE BUI WITHIN 10 Years
Incarceration in the House of Corrections: Not less than 2 ½ years (24 mos. Minimum Mandatory), not more than 10 years