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Boating under the influence can ruin a day on the waterways

As the spring weather approaches, boaters are going to start turning out on the waterways in droves. It is imperative that you understand that your day on the water can turn bad quickly if you opt to operate your boat after consuming alcohol. Boat operators are covered under laws aimed to prevent drunk boating, so be sure to stay sober so your day of fun doesn't include a trip to jail.

One reason for the boating under the influence laws is that the United States Coast Guard notes that drunk boating is more dangerous than drunk driving. This is partially because of the way being on the water affects boaters. These effects are enhanced by alcohol and the sun. It means that boaters could suffer from considerable difficulties making decisions and maneuvering the boat.

You can face criminal charges if you opt to boat after drinking. Boating under the influence checkpoints are becoming more and more common in an effort to stop people from trying to operate water vessels drunk.

The penalties differ for commercial boaters and recreational boaters who face this charge. Typically, they are more severe from commercial boaters who are found to be drunk. Recreational boaters can lose their boating license and might face other penalties. Even a felony BUI is possible, which comes with up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

If you are facing charges for operating a boat while intoxicated, you should explore the defense options that might be possible for your case. No matter what, you must take the penalties and collateral consequences you are facing into consideration when you are trying to decide on what defense strategy to use.

Source: FindLaw, "Boating Under the Influence Basics," accessed Feb. 23, 2017

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