You may now resume your drunken boating

Greatsealcal100Yesterday, the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Two) upheld Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney’s order enjoining the state from suspending and revoking licenses to operate a motor vehicle based upon an individual’s "boating under the influence" conviction.  (Okamoto, Court: State May Not Suspend Driver’s License Over Drunken Boating (May 4, 2008) 

Plaintiffs Cinquegrani and Royea brought a class action challenging the DMV’s practice of summarily suspending or revoking a driver's license following a "BUI" conviction.  The trial court concluded that they were likely to prevail on the merits.  Vehicle Code Sec. 13352(a) mandates that the DMV immediately suspend or revoke an individual’s driver’s license upon receiving a court record showing that an individual had been convicted of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs in violation of Sec. 23152.

The Court of Appeal, affirming the trial court, held that Sec. 23620 only applies to the sentencing of defendants for driving under the influence because boating offenses have their own punishment scheme set forth in the Harbors and Navigation Code.  Construing the statutes and observing that the Legislature has employed the term "separate violation" in all of the statutes increasing the penalties for repeat DUI offenders, the Court of Appeal concluded the Legislature included the reference to Harbors and Navigation Code Sec. 655 in the Vehicle Code for purposes of enhancing a DUI conviction, not as a separate punishment for a BUI.

Please feel free to return to your regularly scheduled drunken boating activities, secure in the knowledge that your driver's license is safe.