Following a boating accident in New York on Friday, the driver of the boat is being charged with first degree vehicular manslaughter and three counts of second degree vehicular assault. Colorado has similar laws that would hold the driver of a boat responsible for drunk driving a boat or other watercraft, such as a jet ski, when a person is injured or dies as a result. Colorado’s boating under the influence laws (BUI) are very similar to the DUI laws.
In the New York accident, a bride to be and her fiance’s best man were killed during the boating accident. The driver of the boat may have been drunk. In Colorado, the legal limit for boating is 0.08, the same limit that applies to driving. Getting charged with a DUI in Colorado can result in loss of your driving privileges while getting charged with a BUI does not have an impact on your regular driving privilege. In addition, a BUI does not “count” as an alcohol related driving offense for purposes of Colorado’s DUI sentencing scheme. However, a BUI can carry penalties similar to a DUI, such as pronation with alcohol education and therapy and/or jail time.
The New York boat driver is not only charged with BUI. The New York boat driver is also charged with vehicular manslaughter and assault. In Colorado, being convicted of vehicular assault or manslaughter can impact your regular driving privilege, even if the accident occurred while driving a boat rather than a car. In Colorado, a person commits the crime of vehicular manslaughter or assault if the person is driving under the influence or recklessly and causes the death of or serious bodily injury to another person.