What Is A Boating Under The Influence (BUI) Case In Oklahoma?

Boating Under The Influence

What Is A Boating Under The Influence (BUI) Case In Oklahoma?

A boating under the influence charge (BUI charge) can result in severe penalties and a potential stain on one’s record. Just like an Oklahoma DUI case involving drunk driving your vehicle Boating under the influence is a serious offense. Understanding what constitutes a BUI, the intricacies of the state’s statute related to BUI charges, and the potential repercussions of a conviction is essential for anyone who is facing allegations that they have committed an impaired boating crime.

Understanding The BUI Statute In Oklahoma

Oklahoma Statute Title 63, Section 4210.8 outlines what constitutes a BUI offense. It’s unlawful for any individual to operate or control a vessel on the state’s waters (excluding private bodies of water) under three circumstances:

  1. If they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 or more when they’re tested,
  2. If they are under the influence of any substance, excluding alcohol, to a degree that compromises their ability to operate a vessel safely, or
  3. If they are under the influence of both alcohol and another intoxicating substance to a degree that makes them unable to safely operate a vessel.

These laws apply to any suspected BUI offense, regardless of whether an alleged offender had any knowledge of them or not.

Implied Consent For Testing In Oklahoma BUI Cases

The statute further clarifies that anyone operating a vessel on Oklahoma’s waters is deemed to have given consent for testing of their blood, breath, saliva, or urine to determine the presence and concentration of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. These tests must be carried out within two hours of an arrest according to Oklahoma Statutes.

Refusal to undergo these tests can be used as evidence in any criminal trial resulting from alleged violation of this statute. Furthermore, refusing the test is itself a violation, and those who refuse can face additional fines. Meaning, even if a boater was totally sober, they may need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney for a BUI case due simply to a refusal to consent to testing.

Potential Penalties For A BUI Conviction In Oklahoma

Being convicted of a BUI offense is considered a misdemeanor, with penalties including a fine not exceeding $1,000 for a first offense. However, for a repeat conviction, a minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine will be levied.

The law also allows law enforcement officers to accept cash bail from a person arrested for a BUI violation, up to the maximum fine amount. Alternatively, the person can deposit their driver’s license in exchange for an official receipt from the arresting officer.


When facing a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charge in Oklahoma, there are several potential defenses that our criminal defense lawyer team could use based on an individual’s circumstances. Remember, consulting with an criminal defense attorney is critical in determining the most effective defense strategy for your specific case.

Improper Or Inadequate Testing

The statute requires that tests for alcohol or other intoxicating substances be conducted within two hours of the arrest and in a manner consistent with Oklahoma Statutes. If there were irregularities in how the test was administered, the results might be challenged successfully by our criminal defense lawyer team.

Questioning The “Intoxicating Substance”

The definition of “other intoxicating substance” is fairly broad in the statute. If you were under the influence of a substance not capable of impairing the central nervous system, vision, hearing, or other sensory or motor functions, this might be a possible defense. In most cases involving intoxicating substances the state must prove that the substance is illegal and is intoxicating. For cases other than alcohol the state sends the substance to OSBI who tests it. This sometimes takes time and sometimes mistakes are made by the testing lab for the state

Challenge The Actual Physical Control Or Operation

The statute prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of a vessel under the influence. This is a lot like the crime of APC in Oklahoma. This is where the Police charge you with the crime even though you weren’t actually operating your motor vehicle. We see this charge most often where a driver who is intoxicated fall asleep in the car. When the Police pull up and find you the claim is that although you weren’t actually driving you were in control of the vesical. If our criminal defense attorneys can establish that you were not operating or in control of the Boat at the time, this could be a strong defense.

Questioning The Arrest Procedure

The law enforcement officer’s conduct and procedure during the arrest could also be scrutinized. Before the Police can pull you over or otherwise detain you they must have probable cause. This means different things in different situations. In a nut shell, before the Police can stop you or otherwise search you they must have a reasonable belief that a rime was committed. They must also have a reasonable belief or suspicion that you committed the crime. If there were violations of your rights or improper conduct by the arresting officer, it might provide grounds for a defense.

Questioning The Legality Of The Initial Stop

If the initial stop by law enforcement was not based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, any evidence gathered thereafter could be deemed inadmissible if our criminal defense lawyers argue successfully that it should be excluded. This is often referred to as fraud of the piousness tree. If the stop was illegal than any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal stop may be excluded.

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BUI Lawyers In Oklahoma

A BUI case in Oklahoma is a serious legal matter, with potential for substantial fines and the potential for repeated offenses to compound penalties. If you or a loved one are navigating such a case, don’t face it alone. A seasoned Tulsa criminal defense attorney at Kania Law Office can help protect your rights and present the strongest possible defense. Call a client-focused criminal defense attorney at (918) 743-2233 or contact us online today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tulsa's Local Criminal Defense Lawyers

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