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Category: Boating Accident Attorney

BUI: a major problem in Rhode Island

DUI is a common offense and also a widely known term throughout the state of Rhode Island. A BUI is not as widely known but carries consequences that are just as severe as a DUI.

Boat operators are required to follow the same regulations as vehicle operators. Boat operators found to be over the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit of .08 are subject to the same penalties a driver would incur for a DUI in Rhode Island.

That could lead to the suspension of license, fines and possible jail time. Each year, BUI’s are responsible for a third of all boating accident deaths in the United States. The serious nature of this problem is what has brought forth such severe penalties.

One difference remains between boats and vehicles is the open container law. Open alcohol containers are permitted on boats, but not in cars in the state of Rhode Island.

Spotting someone who is operating a boat while over the legal BAC limit is not always an easy task. In response, the U.S. Coast Guard revealed a series of new seated sobriety tests in 2013. These tests are intended to accurately gauge hand-eye coordination. One example is the palm pat test. In this test, boaters are asked to position one hand on top of the other and begin to clap while alternating each time.

Another test is known as the nystagmus or horizontal gaze test. Boaters are asked to stand with their arms out and follow a pen or a light in the officer’s hand. As the officer moves it farther to the side, he gauges the angle at which the boater’s eye twitches. If that twitch occurs at less than a 45-degree angle, that is an indication of legal intoxication.

When operating a boat in Rhode Island waters, operators are obligated to consent to any sobriety tests requested by law enforcement officials. It is the same rule that applies to motor vehicle operators, and a refusal can lead to more severe penalties.

Alcohol can also increase its effects on boaters since factors such as the wind; vibrations and sun cause people to become intoxicated at a quicker pace. It takes fewer to impair a boater than it does someone drinking the same amount on land.

If you have recently been involved in a boating accident or received a BUI, it’s time to seek legal counsel. An experienced boating accident attorney at the Law Firm of Calvino Law Associates can help right away. BUI in Rhode Island is treated as a serious offense, which is why you need a serious attorney working for you.