In Virginia, there are plenty of opportunities for you to hit the water with your boat and have a great, relaxing time with friends and family. You may even be tempted to bring some alcohol along with you, but that could lead to drunk driving charges. Boating while under the influence is illegal, after all, and can bring you penalties equal to what you might face if you had been on a road.

FindLaw states that while lesser known than driving under the influence (DUI)-related laws, every state also has laws against boating under the influence (BUI). Some people may think that BUI-related charges will have smaller penalties than DUI-related charges, but that isn’t true, either. In both cases, you may face:

  • Time in jail
  • Expensive fines
  • A mark on your criminal record
  • Higher auto insurance rates
  • License suspension or revocation

Contrary to what some may believe, boating laws are just as strictly enforced as roadway laws. If you are showing behavior that indicates you may be intoxicated, law enforcement officials have every right to stop your craft and make sure that everyone on board is safe to be allowed on the water.

In many cases, BUI-related incidents are treated extra stringently. This is because the possibility of drowning is always prevalent, even when everyone on board a vessel is entirely sober. Adding drinks into the mix only increases your chances of risking a deadly accident.

If you have been involved in a situation where you have been accused of BUI, you may want to contact an attorney for further help. Otherwise, you risk facing consequences just as severe and potentially life-altering as anyone facing a DUI charge would.