Skip links

Las Vegas Boating Under The Influence Lawyer

Last Modified: December 18, 2023

Boating Under The Influence Lawyer In Las Vegas, NV

If you are involved in a boating accident while intoxicated in Nevada, the law can be unforgiving. Boating under the influence (BUI) is just as illegal and serious offense as driving under the influence (DUI); meaning that having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, and being found to have drugs/alcohol in your system, can lead to heavy fines and even jail time if convicted. That’s why it’s best to seek legal advice from an experienced Las Vegas boating under the influence lawyer who will help protect your rights!

Furthermore, if someone is convicted of boating under the influence in Las Vegas, they are usually mandated to take a boating safety course and may be ordered to do community service as part of their probation. Probation also requires individuals to undergo drug/alcohol testing. Should any other party be hurt in the boating accident, the driver is legally obligated to pay various fees such as restitution charges and court costs. Additionally, administrative costs and probation services must also be paid by the operator of said boat. Don’t wait, contact our criminal defense attorney today for a consultation and learn more about how we can help.

Boating Under The Influence Laws In Nevada

According to Nevada regulations, it is illegal to take control of a boat while powered or without power if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. If someone is found guilty of boating while inebriated (BWI), otherwise known as “Boating Under the Influence” (BUI) due to operating a vessel when:

  • Impaired by alcohol, a controlled or intoxicating substance to a “degree that renders [the] person incapable of safely operating or exercising actual physical control of a vessel”
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .1% or greater within two hours of operating the vessel (.08% or greater for offenses involving death or serious injuries), or
  • Having a prohibited concentration of certain drugs—including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and PCP—in the body.

Thus, in Nevada boat operators can be found guilty of boating while impaired even if they are not actually displaying signs of impairment but have a certain level concentration of drugs or alcohol in their system. If you’re facing BUI charges in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas boating under the influence lawyer as soon as possible.

BUI Limits For Other Intoxicating Substances

Nevada law is clear: it’s unlawful to operate a boat while under the effects of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and others. If your nanograms per milliliter (ml) of urine or blood exceed the set limit in NRS 488.410, you can be charged with boating under the influence in Nevada, as well as other drug-related charges if any of the following substances are found:

  • Amphetamine: 500 ng/ML (urine), 100 ng/ML (blood)
  • Cocaine: 150 ng/ML (urine), 50 ng/ML (blood)
  • Cocaine metabolite: 150 ng/ML (urine), 50 ng/ML (blood)
  • Heroin: 2,000 ng/ML (urine), 50 ng/ML (blood)
  • Heroin metabolite – morphine:
  • 2,000 ng/ML (urine), 50 ng/ML (blood)
  • Heroin metabolite – 6-monoacetyl morphine:
  • 10 ng/ML (urine), 10 ng/ML (blood)
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide: 25 ng/ML (urine), 10 ng/ML (blood)
  • Marijuana – delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol: 2 ng/ML (blood)
  • Marijuana metabolite – 11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol: 5 ng/ML (blood)
  • Methamphetamine: 500 ng/ML (urine), 100 ng/ML (blood)
  • Phencyclinide: 25 ng/ML (urine), 10 ng/ML (blood)

Penalties For Boating Under The Influence In Las Vegas

Subsequent convictions of BUI result in heavier punishments, similar to multiple DUI offenses in Nevada. This is particularly true when the incident leads to serious harm or fatality. Below are the penalties you may face if convicted of boating under the influence in Nevada.

Misdemeanor BUI Penalties

A BUI for the first time is generally considered a misdemeanor. In Nevada, if no one has been harmed or injured due to someone’s operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol on water vessels, being convicted will lead to a maximum jail time of 6 months and/or up to $1000 fines. On top of that, judges more often than not make it compulsory for defendants to receive additional punishments such as:

  • An online boater safety course
  • Community service

Felony BUI Penalties

All Boating Under the Influence (BUI) offenses wherein a defendant previously has been convicted, or where physical harm to a victim was sustained, are classified as a felony. Probation and suspended sentences are not allowed for defendants found guilty of this level of offense; furthermore, judges may not dismiss any case in which there is probable cause that guilt rests with the defendant.

Similarly, keep in mind that if a defendant’s boat had anyone onboard aged fifteen or younger, the court would regard this as an “aggravating factor,” thus inducing a harsher punishment. Furthermore, any individual convicted of felony BUI must pass evaluations for alcohol and drug abuse. Lastly, those sentenced to prison are typically sent to minimum-security facilities and isolated from violent criminals.

BUI Following A Felony BUI

Should you be convicted of a felony boating under the influence, obtaining another BUI will become a Category B felony. The consequences are stern and include:

  • 2-15 years in prison; and
  • Fines of $2,000 to $5,000

BUI Causing Serious Injury Or Death

If someone’s BUI (Boating Under the Influence) causes death or serious bodily injury in Nevada, it can be charged as a Category B Felony which carries:

  • 2 – 20 years in prison; and
  • Fines of $2,000 to $5,000

Homicide By Vessel

If someone is found guilty of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) that results in death, and they have three previous BUI convictions on record, it will be categorized as a category A felony. The consequences could include:

  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years; or
  • 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years

Enforcement Of Boating Under The Influence In Nevada

Much like highway patrol officers keep a watchful eye out for drivers displaying suspect behavior, police also saturate Nevada’s larger bodies of water during peak holiday seasons such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July to monitor boaters. Additionally, Operation Dry Water is conducted annually where law enforcement presence further strengthens safety on the lakes and rivers throughout Nevada over one crowded weekend.

An alarming BUI story broke out at Lake Mead when a gamekeeper caught Erin Brockovich, a renowned consumer advocate, having difficulty with mooring her motorboat. After failing the breathalyzer test in Henderson Justice Court she pleaded no contest. Nevada features many spectacular water attractions like:

  • Colorado River
  • Truckee River
  • White River
  • Lake Tahoe (Washoe & Douglas)
  • Lake Las Vegas (Clark)
  • Lake Mohave (Clark)
  • Spooner Lake (Washoe)
  • Overland Lake (Elko)
  • Wild Horse Reservoir (Elko)
  • Wilson Reservoir (Elko)
  • Lamoille Lake (Elko)
  • Lake Lahontan (Elko & Churchill)
  • Topaz Lake (Douglas)
  • Angel Lake (Elko)
  • Washoe Lake (Washoe)
  • Walker Lake (Mineral)
  • Pyramid Lake (Washoe)
Las Vegas Criminal Defense ATTORNEY

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Defenses Of Boating Under The Influence Charges In Nevada?

Battling a Nevada charge of operating a water vessel while under the influence presents numerous potential options. Five common strategies for defense are:

  1. The defendant was not the one driving the boat;
  2. The law enforcement officer did not have probable cause to arrest the defendant;
  3. The breath- or blood-testing equipment was defective;
  4. The defendant had a physical or medical condition that causes falsely high BAC results;
  5. The law enforcement officer committed misconduct (such as not giving the defendant the option to take a breath test when no drug use was suspected)

Regardless of the case, criminal defense attorneys always ensure to conduct a complete investigation. This encompasses everything from:

  • Getting the weather report and interviewing witnesses to
  • Documenting what the defendant ate prior to the incident and gathering medical records.

From a lack of tangible evidence to insufficient witnesses, any one of these elements could be the determinant between success and failure in court. If your Las Vegas boating under the influence lawyer can illustrate that the prosecutors are unable to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then charges must be dropped.

Can I Be Deported After A BUI Charge In Nevada?

Although operating a vessel while impaired is not always a cause for deportation, the constantly-changing immigration laws make it difficult to predict consequences. Non-U.S. citizens who have BUI charges should seek legal advice as soon as possible in order to protect their status and rights within the U.S. Seeking counsel from an experienced Las Vegas BUI defense attorney can help ensure that any potential case won’t threaten future prospects of staying in this country legally!

Can A BUI Conviction Be Sealed?

After a misdemeanor BUI conviction, you can request to have your record sealed one year after the case is closed. On the other hand, felony convictions are not eligible for sealing and will remain on your record permanently. If charges are dismissed though, they may be immediately sealed from your records – so find out more about how to seal Nevada criminal records right away!

Contact Our Las Vegas Boating Under The Influence Lawyer Today

A Las Vegas boating under the influence attorney may contest the evidence brought against the boat’s operator. If you have been charged with a DUI that may be the result of inadequate field sobriety tests or incorrect chemical/breath analysis administration, then Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers is here to help. Our knowledgeable criminal defense law firm can elucidate how the test should have correctly been conducted and any other problems pertaining to its execution. In addition, if you were involved in a boating accident while under the influence, contact our office right away for a consultation and take the next steps to defend yourself.

(702) 660-1234