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I Just Got a Traffic Violation on My Boat: Now What?

 Posted on June 14, 2024 in DUI/OWI

Jefferson County traffic violation lawyerEnjoying a day out on the water can be a fantastic experience, but remember that boating comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Just like driving a car, operating a boat irresponsibly can lead to traffic violations and serious consequences. When you receive a boating traffic violation, a Wisconsin lawyer can help you understand your rights and the steps you should take next.

What to Know About Boating Traffic Violations

In Wisconsin, law enforcement officers are responsible for maintaining the safety of all boaters on the state’s waterways. They may issue citations for various infractions, such as:

  • Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OWI)
  • Reckless or negligent operation
  • Speeding in no-wake zones
  • Failure to display registration numbers or decals properly
  • Inadequate safety equipment on board

The severity of the penalties for these violations can vary depending on factors like the specific offense, whether there were any accidents or injuries involved, and your prior boating record.

What to Do After Receiving a Boating Traffic Violation

The first step is carefully reading and understanding the citation. It will typically include details about the alleged offense, the fine amount, and instructions for responding to the citation. You ‌typically have two options:

  • Pay the fine and accept responsibility for the violation
  • Contest the citation and request a court hearing

If you choose to pay the fine, you can usually do so by mail or online. However, keep in mind that paying the fine is an admission of guilt and may result in points being added to your boating record, which could lead to increased penalties for future violations.

Contesting Your Boating Traffic Violation

If you believe that you were not in violation of the law or that there were extenuating circumstances, you may want to consider contesting the citation. To do so, you need to follow the instructions on the citation to request a court hearing.

You can present evidence and argue your case before a judge at the hearing. It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney who understands the challenges of boating law and can help you build a strong defense.

Potential Defenses for Boating Traffic Violations

Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, there may be several potential defenses that could help you fight your boating traffic violation. Some common defenses include:

  • Lack of probable cause for the stop
  • Improper calibration or maintenance of equipment used to determine the violation
  • Challenging the officer’s subjective opinion (e.g., in cases of reckless operation)
  • Demonstrating that your actions were necessary to avoid a collision or other danger

A lawyer can help to determine which defenses may be applicable in your case and develop a strategy to present them effectively in court.

Contact a Jefferson County, WI Traffic Violation Lawyer

Just as with your driving record, your boating record can have significant consequences. Accumulating too many points or violations can result in fines, increased insurance rates, and even the suspension or revocation of your boating privileges.

By taking your boating traffic violation seriously and working with a Racine County, WI traffic violation attorney, you can help protect your rights and minimize the potential impact on your boating record and your ability to enjoy the beautiful waterways for years to come. Call Bucher Law Group, LLC at 262-303-4916 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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