What happens to your privilege to boat if you get arrested for boating under the influence? Allow me to explain the boating law specifically regarding automatic suspension of your boating privileges. When the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has placed you under arrest for BUI and has asked that you complete a State Administered Blood or Breath Test, you likely responded to that request in one of two ways. You likely either: 1) refused to submit to testing, or 2) submitted to testing. If you refused the test, submitted to the test, or even if a blood sample was taken pursuant to a search warrant, the DNR would have requested that your boating privileges be suspended for 12 months based on an alcohol concentration of .08 or more for individuals over age 21 (.02 or more for individuals under age 21). The DNR will provide you a document notifying you of this suspension, however many individuals do not recognize the document as a suspension notice. The good news is that you do have options to appeal such a suspension. Under the above outlined circumstances, you must prepare and mail by certified mail an appeal letter to respond to this automatic suspension within 10 days from the date of arrest. Failing to send an appeal letter will result in an automatic suspension of boating privileges for 12 months.
You should receive a court date within 30 days of requesting this appeal if you send in your letter within the 10 day period. Keep an eye out for mailed notice of your court date and inform me of the date as soon as you receive it. IMPORTANT: Please note that you are NOT entitled to your boating privileges during the time between your arrest and this court date. The exception to this rule is in the event that your hearing is not held within 60 days from the date that you filed your appeal. In this scenario, you would be legally allowed to boat on the days beyond the 60 day mark up until the date of your hearing. Please understand this boating privilege extends to you ONLY IF the case was not continued at your or your attorney’s request.
It is recommended that you arrive, at minimum, 15 minutes early on the date of your hearing. Being tardy for any reason whatsoever will result in the immediate loss of your appeal. The judge will determine at the hearing whether you are entitled to continue to boat, or if your 12 month suspension will remain in effect.
What happens if you lose your appeal and your boating privileges are not reinstated? At that point you may elect to appeal that decision further, or you may comply with the demands of the DNR in order to reinstate your boating privileges. There is a hard suspension of 120 days, starting from the date that you received notice of your 12 month suspension, before you can move to reinstate. The requirements to reinstate are to complete a DUI Risk Reduction Course and pay the $200 reinstatement fee.
Lastly, if we get a positive result in the BUI case where you are NOT convicted of BUI, such as dismissal, reduction, or alternative resolution, be mindful that the 12 month suspension would immediately be reversed based on such a result. I recommend that you call me if you have any questions about this information. I thank you for considering me to help you in your case.