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Course Outline

Officer testing for sobriety

Washington law establishes the following penalties for boat operation under the influence (BUI).

  • A person convicted of BUI may be imprisoned for up to 364 days, be fined up to $5,000, or be penalized with both imprisonment and a fine. In addition, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution for any damages or injuries resulting from the offense.
  • Officers with probable cause can ask the boat operator to submit to a breath test. For probable cause, officers often use operating violations for wake and for speed exceeding the posted limits.
    • If the operator refuses to take the breath test, the total fine could be up to $2,050.
    • An operator’s refusal cannot be used as evidence in a subsequent criminal trial.
  • If someone dies or is seriously injured as the result of another person boating while intoxicated, the convicted person also may be charged with a felony, punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional institution and a substantial fine.
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