Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence

A charge of Operating Watercraft Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance, in violation of 30 Pa.C.S.A. § 5502, is a serious misdemeanor charge that carries severe penalties if a person is convicted. While a charge of Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence is different from a DUI operating watercraft under influence drinking on boat charge in that a conviction only results in the suspension of boating privileges and not Pennsylvania driving privileges, a conviction of either offense often results in a sentence that carries mandatory jail time and fines.

There are Three Tiers or Levels of Penalties

Sentences for convictions of Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence, commonly referred to as BUI, are separated into three tiers of penalties. With regard to charges based upon the consumption of alcohol, the higher the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the person, the higher the penalty tier and the more severe the sentence imposed. An underage drinker with an alcohol concentration above .02 percent is subject to second-tier penalties. If a person refuses to submit to testing to determine alcohol or drug levels, the person receives third-tier penalties.

Tier Level 1 (BAC less than .10)

  • First Offense: six months' probation; $300 fine
  • Second Offense: five days' incarceration; $300 to $2,500 fine
  • Third Offense: 10 days' incarceration; $500 to $5,000 fine

Tier Level 2 (BAC of .10 to .16)

  • First Offense: 48 hours' incarceration; $500 to $5,000 fine
  • Second Offense: 30 days' incarceration; $750 to $5,000 fine
  • Third Offense: 90 days' incarceration; $1,500 to $10,000 fine

Tier Level 3 (BAC greater than .16)

  • First Offense: 72 hours' incarceration; $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • Second Offense: 90 days' incarceration; $1,500 fine
  • Third Offense: one-year incarceration; $2,500 fine

Were You Charged With BUI? The Time to Call is Now.

Time is of the essence in any alcohol-related case, regardless of the level of the charge. If you have been charged with BUI, we encourage you to meet with an attorney in a free initial consultation. Call 814-954-1094 or complete our online form.