The Consequences of Boating Under the Influence

 Posted on May 25,2016 in DUI

Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyerSpring has finally arrived and that means summer is not far behind. The warm weather brings people outdoors to enjoy all types of activities. Illinois offers thousands of lakes and streams throughout the state for both citizens and visitors to enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating. Many of those who enjoy boating, however, sometimes fail to remember that drinking while operating a boat can lead to criminal charges just like drinking and driving a motor vehicle.

Deadly Risks

According to statistics from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), there were 14 people killed in boating accidents last year on state waters. Six of those fatalities involved alcohol and/or drug impairment of the boat operator. Marine law enforcement arrested 179 people for operating under the influence (OUI), which was an 11 percent increase from the previous year.

The legal blood alcohol content limit for a person who is operating a boat is the same for someone operating a motor vehicle: .08 percent. Refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test when you are suspected of boating under the influence (BUI) can result in the same punishment as refusing to submit when operating a vehicle – loss of all driving privileges.

Severe Penalties

A first-time conviction of BUI can lead to loss of your license, large fines, and even possible jail times. Repeat offenders or those who are involved in a boating accident face even harsher punishments.

In 2014, the law was changed to allow law enforcement to seize a person’s watercraft if it is used in offenses related to operating the vessel while under the influence. It is similar to the law that allows for seizure of a person’s motor vehicle if they continue to drink and drive after DUI convictions.

Many people have designated drivers when attending events where alcohol will be served, ensuring that those who will be drinking will not be driving. The same should apply to those who are going out on a boat. The person who will be operating should not be drinking.

Facing BUI Charges?

If you have been arrested for boating under the influence, it is important to contact an experienced Arlington Heights drunk driving attorney right away. Call Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law at 847-253-3400 today.



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