Under the Maine BUI Law, there are three circumstances, which will expose an individual to criminal charges and possibly a conviction. Accordingly, it is illegal to operate a vessel on Maine’s oceans, lakes, rivers, and other waterways if you:
- Operate a watercraft and are impaired due to the effect of alcohol and drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
- Have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher if above the age of 21 years-old.
- Have a blood alcohol content of higher than .00 if under the age of 21 years-old.
Maine’s BUI and OUI laws are very similar. Just like a Maine OUI, an individual cannot operate a boat while impaired by alcohol and or drugs.
With a Maine BUI case, in addition to the results of the chemical test, the State can also present evidence of the arresting officer or warden’s observations. These observations can be the Defendant’s performance on the SFSTs, physical signs of impairment such as slurred speech, poor balance or hand eye coordination, and operational impairment such as excessive speeding or reckless disregard for swimmers to help obtain a conviction. Individuals who operate watercraft while under the influence will have to take the state-administered exam and submit to field sobriety test as they do in OUI situations or risk increased fines. One beneficial difference is that if you are charged with a BUI under title 12 M.R.S.A. §10701, the State does not seek to administratively suspend your driver’s license as use of a motor vehicle is not contemplated by this charge.