The Law- DUI Boating & Motorcycling

DUI Boating, Golf Carts and Other Vehicles:  Did you know that you can be charged with a DUI for being under the influence of alcohol while riding on any device with a motor? It’s true! This is the result of a rather expansive definition of what a “vehicle” is under California’s Motor Vehicle Code.  DUI boating arrests are actually quite common.  And this expansive view of what constitutes a “vehicle” includes golf carts, motorized skateboards, and bicycles with motors- including electric motors.

Boating DUI is not an uncommon charge.  It is against the law to boat or operate any vehicle (including everything from a motorcycle to a bicycle) under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the State of California. The California Vehicle Code defines a “vehicle” as any “device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks”. As such, the definition of vehicle has been held to include everything from bicycles to a horse-drawn buggy.

Operating a Boat or Watercraft Under the Influence

Boating laws and boating DUI laws are generally governed by California’s Harbor and Navigation Code. Under the Harbor and Navigation Code it is illegal to operate a boat or other watercraft with a BAC of 0.08% or higher (same as a motor vehicle). And, similar to motor vehicles, one cannot operate a commercial craft with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. As with a motor vehicle, if you are convicted of a DUI you are subject to similar penalties including jail time, license suspension, DUI school, fines and probation.

Motorcycling Under the Influence

Motorcycling under the influence is handled in a similar manner to driving a motor vehicle under the influence. The same procedures and penalties apply with a motorcycle DUI as with an ordinary DUI.


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