For many people, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. Some people celebrate with picnics and barbecues, while others head to the lake for time on the water. In many cases, people enjoy drinking alcohol while enjoying these activities. However, what many people do not realize is that Illinois treats alcohol and boating very similar to the way it treats alcohol and driving. If you are convicted of boating while under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs, you could face serious consequences, similar to driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
The Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act states that it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. A person is considered to be boating under the influence if he or she is in actual physical control of watercraft and one or more of the following apply:
The alcohol concentration in his or her blood, breath, or urine is .08 or higher.
The person is under the influence of alcohol.
The person is under the influence of any drug or intoxicating compound that renders him or her incapable of operating the watercraft safely.
The person is under the influence of a combination of alcohol, drugs and/or intoxicating compounds that renders him or her incapable of operating the watercraft safely.
Similar to a DUI, being convicted of boating while under the influence can result in rather serious consequences. A basic BUI charge will result in a Class A misdemeanor, which carries consequences of up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in jail. In certain situations, a BUI charge can be elevated to a felony charge.
If you were previously convicted of BUI, or if your BUI caused great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony. That means you would face up to $25,000 in fines and one to three years in prison.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will also suspend the watercraft operation privileges of offenders based on the conviction. A misdemeanor conviction will result in a one-year suspension, while a felony conviction will result in a three-year suspension.
Though summer is almost upon us, and it may be tempting to mix alcohol and boating, it is important to remember that you could face serious penalties for operating a watercraft while intoxicated. If you have been charged with a BUI, you need assistance from a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has been helping clients fight criminal charges for more than 25 years. He will ensure all possible avenues are explored to get you the best result possible. Call our office today at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation.
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