With the weather warming up, many Cape Cod residents may want to hit the waterways and enjoy a relaxing day with a few drinks. While boats and other vessels differ from motor vehicles, laws still prevent individuals from operating them while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Operating under the influence (OUI) and boating under the influence (BUI) are separate offenses in Massachusetts. Although the impaired operation and legal BAC limits are common factors, there are significant distinctions between OUI and BUI in Cape Cod.
The Differences Between These Offenses
OUI refers to operating motor vehicles, like cars, motorcycles, and trucks, on public roads while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Massachusetts, any driver operating a motor vehicle with a BAC equal to or exceeding the limit of 0.08% can be charged with OUI.
The consequences of operating under the influence (OUI) depend on the situation and previous convictions. For those who are facing their first offense, the penalties may include:
- Fines that range from $500 to $5,000
- Imprisonment for up to 2.5 years
- A license suspension for up to 1 year
- Installation of an ignition interlock device upon license reinstatement
If someone has subsequent offenses, the penalties are much harsher, with increased fines, longer license suspensions, mandatory jail time, and even the possibility of permanent license revocation.
On the other hand, BUI involves the operation of watercraft, such as boats, jet skis, or sailboats, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like an OUI, the legal BAC limit for boaters in Massachusetts is also 0.08%. If a boater exceeds this limit or is impaired by drugs while operating a watercraft, they can face a BUI charge.
Similar to OUI, the penalties for BUI in Massachusetts can be substantial. For a first offense, boaters may face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, potential imprisonment of up to 2.5 years, and mandatory participation in an alcohol education program.
Additionally, their boating privileges can be suspended for up to 1 year. Subsequent offenses carry steeper penalties, including:
- Increased fines
- Longer license suspension
- Mandatory jail time
- Potential vessel forfeiture
In OUI and BUI cases, anyone refusing to submit to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer or blood test, can face an automatic license suspension under Massachusetts’ implied consent laws.
Massachusetts Takes These Offenses Seriously
To prevent OUI and BUI in Cape Cod, Massachusetts has taken strict enforcement measures. The Commonwealth has focused on increased police patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and public awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers and legal consequences of driving or operating watercraft while impaired.
No matter whether you are on the water or the road, impaired driving can lead to significant legal and life-changing consequences.
Find a Cape Cod OUI Attorney for Your Case
OUI and BUI in Cape Cod share similarities in terms of impaired operation and legal BAC limits, but they pertain to different modes of transportation. Massachusetts enforces strict penalties for both offenses to deter individuals from operating under the influence, emphasizing the importance of responsible behavior and public safety.
If you’re facing OUI charges and need a reliable law firm to defend you, consider contacting the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. Our firm has been ranked as one of the top OUI defense firms. With over 50 years of experience and a track record of successful resolutions, we are committed to providing exceptional defense services to clients throughout Massachusetts and Cape Cod. We have offices in Springfield, Hyannis, and Belchertown. We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. You can contact us today by calling (413)-731-9995 or texting (413)-225-2072.