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Boating Under the Influence in New Jersey

It is essential to recognize that just like operating any other vehicle under the influence, boating under the influence is strictly prohibited in the state of New Jersey. If you were charged with this offense, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today to discuss the details of your claim and your options with a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney.

What is New Jersey’s boating under the influence laws?

New Jersey law bans operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “vessel” includes vessels that are “temporarily or permanently equipped with machinery for propulsion” or 12 feet or greater in length.

A person can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:

  • impaired by alcohol, a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-forming drug so as to alter the boater’s “normal
  • physical coordination and mental faculties [and] render such person a danger to himself as well as to other persons,” or
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

Essentially, a BUI conviction can be based on BAC concentration or actual impairment resulting from ingesting drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one has been charged with a BUI, you will need to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

What are the consequences of boating under the influence?

The consequences of a New Jersey BUI conviction rely on the events of the case. But typically, the possible penalties include the following:

  • First-offense BUI for alcohol impairment or .08% BAC: A first-offense BUI involving alcohol impairment or a BAC of .08% or greater but less than .1% carries $250 to $400 in fines, a one-year boating privilege suspension, and a three-month driver’s license suspension.
  • First-offense BUI for drug impairment of .1% BAC: A first-offense BUI involving drug impairment or a BAC of .1% or greater carries $300 to $500 in fines, a one-year boating privilege suspension, and driver’s license suspension of seven months to one year.
  • Second-offense BUI: A second-offense BUI carries $500 to $1,000 in fines, 30 days of community service, 48 hours to 90 days in jail, and two-year suspensions of boating and driving privileges.
  • Third or subsequent BUI: A third or subsequent BUI carries $1,000 in fines, at least 180 days in jail (the court can convert up to 90 days to community service), and ten-year suspensions of boating and driving privileges.

For goals of determining whether a BUI is a second or subsequent offense, only BUIs that occurred within the past ten years qualify. Keep in mind that all convicted boaters must agree with the screening, evaluation, and referral requirements of the Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP) and complete a state-approved boating safety course.



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