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Boating and Alcohol Infractions in Colorado

Boating and Alcohol Infractions in Colorado

Many people enjoy boating and having an adult beverage; and that is not illegal, but operating or allowing a person to operate a boat while under the influence or impaired by alcohol is illegal. The laws for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) are similar, but not the same as, driving under the influence (DUI).

BUI is covered under Colorado Revised Statues, section 33-13-108. It is a misdemeanor to operate or be in actual physical control of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. The legal limit for BUI is the same as DUI, .08.

The penalties for a first time BUI are 5 days to 1 year in jail. A fine of no less than $200, but no more than $1,000 shall be imposed. The court can impose up to 96 hours of useful public service. All jail may be suspended if a person completes an alcohol evaluation and the recommended treatment. This would consist of level I or II alcohol education.

In addition, you would have to attend a drunk driving safety class and abstain from the use of alcohol for at least 1 year. The abstinence will be supervised by a treatment facility. Upon a conviction for a first offense you shall be prohibited by the court from operating a vessel for 3 months.

On a second offense within five years, the penalties increase to jail of 60 days to 1 year. If a person completes the alcohol evaluation and recommended treatment the court can suspend all but 5 days of the mandatory jail. A fine of not less than $500, but no more than $1,000 dollars shall be imposed. The court shall impose no less than 60 hours of useful public service but no more than 120 hours. All but 5 days of jail may be suspended if a person completes an alcohol evaluation and the recommended treatment. This would consist of level I or II alcohol education.

In addition you would have to attend a drunk driving safety class and abstain from the use of alcohol for a year. The abstinence will be supervised by a treatment facility. Upon a conviction for a second offense you shall be prohibited by the court for operating a vessel for 1 year. Probation in BUI cases shall not exceed 2 years.

One of the major differences between DUI and BUI is that an owner or operator of a vessel can be charged under this section if they knowingly allow another to operate or take actual physical control of a vessel while the other person is impaired or under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

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