Motor Vehicle Accidents Resulting from Alcohol Consumption

Motor vehicle accidents are normally associated with auto accidents because they are the most commonly occurring. Auto accidents are among the leading causes of injury in the US. But the fact is boats are also motor vehicles, and boating under the influence of alcohol consumption or BUI also carries stiff penalties.

According to the US Coast Guard’s collation of recreational boating accident statistics in 2002-2003, alcohol consumption is responsible for more than 20% of all boating accident fatalities and injuries but since non-fatal boating accidents are consistently underreported, that percentage may be much higher.

Recently, BUI laws have been made more stringent in some states, most notably Washington where a BUI violation now carries penalties as severe as that for drunk driving or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). A fine could be as high as $5,000 and one year in jail, compared to the old BUI laws which merely imposed a fine of $250.

In some states, a BUI conviction carries over to the offender’s state license to drive. This includes Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas and Utah as of 2007 and Washington as of July 28, 2013. A BUI charge in these states may have serious consequences, especially if the operator has prior DUI convictions. In Oregon, for example, when a combination of BUI and DUI convictions reaches four, it becomes an automatic felony. In Massachusetts, it could mean a suspension of the motor vehicle license.

A BUI charge should not be allowed to reach a conviction as much as possible, especially in the states with stricter laws. A BUI defense lawyer would know how to go about having the charge dismissed or at least mitigated. This is especially important if one or more people were injured as a result. Aside from keeping the driving record clean, a dismissed charge denies a possible personal injury claimant a significant piece of evidence to prove the case.


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