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What Are Wisconsin’s Boating While Intoxicated Laws?

 Posted on May 27, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Jefferson County Boating While Intoxicated LawyerSummer is around the corner and Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers will once again be filling up with boats. It is possible, even likely, that some of Wisconsin’s boat drivers will be filling up on beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks. Wisconsin is one of the leading states for intoxicated boating and boating accidents. Alcohol plays a role in one out of every five accidents on the water. Before you get behind the controls of a boat, it is best to know the laws for intoxicated boating and what penalties you may face if caught.

Enjoy Summer, But Be Safe on the Water

For the operator of a private boat over the age of 21, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08, just like for motor vehicles. For operators of commercial boats, the legal limit drops to a BAC of .04, matching that of commercial drivers. If your boat is stopped under suspicion of intoxicated boating, you may be subject to sobriety tests right on the boat. Law enforcement no longer waits to perform the tests until reaching dry land. Unlike motor vehicles, there is no open container law on a boat. This means your boat cannot be stopped simply for having alcohol aboard. In addition to alcohol, you may not operate a boat if you have any detectable level of a restricted controlled substance in your blood.

Under Wisconsin law, fines for a first intoxicated boating offense can be as high as $300. If you are found guilty of a second offense within five years of the first, you face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A third intoxicated boating offense could land you in jail for up to one year and you may be paying fines of up to $2,000. More serious charges can be added if an accident with injuries resulted from your intoxicated boating. All offenders must complete a court-ordered alcohol and drug assessment and complete a certified boating safety course. Additionally, your boat’s certificate will be revoked and a new one must be acquired. However, intoxicated boating charges do not have an impact on your driver’s license.

Contact a Walworth County BUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for intoxicated boating in Wisconsin, you need to call the Kenosha County criminal defense lawyers at Bucher Law Group, LLC. We have experience defending clients in many types of criminal cases, including driving under the influence and intoxicated boating. We will present a strong defense for you and aggressively fight for your rights. Call us today at 262-303-4916 for a free consultation.




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