As a rule, DUIs in Los Angeles involve motor vehicles moving on interstates, highways and local roads—in other words, on dry land. But with the ocean close by, some law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County also have to deal with intoxicated boaters who pose a danger to themselves and to others on the water. These stories from other states demonstrate the kind of toll that BUIs can take:
• In South Carolina, around 6 a.m. on July 7th, police arrested Cynthia Lynn Averitt for boating under the influence on Lake Wylie. A few hours later they pulled the body of Kenneth Varandore, a passenger on the boat, from the lake. Police reported that Varandore apparently jumped into the water and never resurfaced.
• A 43-foot fishing vessel smashed into a slip at Aurora Harbor in Juneau, Alaska, around noon on June 6th. Darrin Hess, age 51, was at the wheel of the Nor’Gale when it hit several boats and then caused significant damage to the harbor’s main float. Police charged Hess with driving under the influence and with refusing a breath test.
• The Marine Unit of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in Grand Island, New York, caught up with David Finn before he did any damage. When they stopped him on the Niagara River for an equipment check, the officers noticed Finn was displaying signs of intoxication. Finn’s BAC measured more than twice the legal limit, so officers charged him with BWI, unlawful possession of marijuana and navigational law violations.
In California, the state’s Harbors and Navigation Code 655(b) addresses the penalties for BUI. As with a DUI, what is typically a misdemeanor charge can become a felony if the boater injures or kills another person while under the influence. Penalties for BUI range from up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 for a misdemeanor to up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $5,000 for a felony conviction. The California DMV may also suspend the driver’s license for anywhere from six months to five years.
As a frequent contributor to respected media, like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America, Los Angeles DUI attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group understands what it takes to build successful defenses in complex DUI cases. Contact him and his team today to schedule a consultation.