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Is boating under the influence illegal in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2020 | drunk boating |

Operating a boat after drinking raises the risk of a catastrophic accident. Pennsylvania’s penalties for boating under the influence vary depending on the operator’s blood alcohol content and other factors.

Learn about the possible criminal consequences of a BUI arrest in Pennsylvania.

Second-degree felony BUI

Aggravated assault by watercraft charges apply to BUI cases in which the boat operator caused serious bodily injury to another person. A conviction can result in up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison. For wrongful death caused in a BUI accident, the offender will receive a minimum prison sentence of three years.

First-degree misdemeanor BUI

The most serious misdemeanor BUI charges apply in cases involving:

  • Second or third offense with BAC above 0.16%
  • Third offense with BAC between 0.10 and 0.16%
  • Third offense with an alcohol impairment BUI (no minimum BAC) involving property damage, bodily injury or wrongful death

Penalties may include at least 90 days and up to 10 years in jail along with $2,500 to $10,000 in fines.

Second-degree misdemeanor BUI

The offender could receive second-degree misdemeanor charges in these circumstances:

  • Third offense with an alcohol impairment BUI (no minimum BAC)
  • Third per se BUI offense (BAC of 0.08% to 0.10%)

These convictions may result in 10 days and two years in jail along with $500 to $5,000 in fines.

Third-degree misdemeanor BUI

This charge covers most first and second BUI offenses regardless of the person’s BAC at the time of the arrest. A conviction for this type of BUI may result in up to six months in jail and $500 to $5,000 in fines.

In addition to these penalties, all convicted BUI defendants must complete a boating safety course with approval from the state. As with an arrest for driving under the influence, boat operators must submit to a breath or urine test to determine blood alcohol content or they will face additional charges.