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What Happens if You Get a Boating Violation When Intoxicated?

 Posted on January 04, 2024 in DUI/OWI

Milwaukee County BUI LawyerWisconsin boating culture embraces fun on the state’s plentiful waterways. However, alcohol impairment and moving vessels are a dangerous mix. Boaters violating rules of navigation, registration, or safety requirements while intoxicated face serious criminal charges and penalties from DWIs to injury and manslaughter. A Wisconsin traffic violation lawyer can help you understand the potential for your case.

OWI Boating Charges

Operating recreational machines like motorboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats over the legal 0.08% blood alcohol concentration limit prompts boating while intoxicated charges. First offenses lead to civil infraction fines of $150-$300. But OWI convictions within five years become criminal misdemeanors with harsher fines reaching $300-$1,000 and more jail time.

Increased BAC Penalties

Higher BAC levels over 0.15% draw additional fines, even for first infractions. Higher test results demonstrate greater impairment, which means stiffer penalties apply. Subsequent offenses at raised BACs also trigger criminal OWI charges sooner, bypassing the five-year civil to criminal graduation period given a lower intoxication scenario.

Aggravating Factor Consequences

Causing property damage, injuries, or death while boating drunk aggravates charges exponentially. Expect criminal reckless endangerment charges, negligent operation fines, license revocation, and prison sentences of up to a decade if intoxicated navigation resulted in destruction, harm, or loss of life. Manslaughter convictions can mean up to 15 years of jail time.

Testing Protocol Differs

Boating intoxication laws share similarities with roadway DUIs but differ, too. Marine patrol lacks rules for preliminary roadside sobriety exercises before testing BAC levels. However, the chemical testing protocol itself feels familiar, utilizing handheld or station-based breathalyzers with blood draws ordered for test refusals or discrepancies.

There are No Restricted or Occupational Privileges

While first-time driving OWI offenders may retain occupational licenses allowing commuting to work, no such provisions exist in boating cases. All skippers charged lose all boat operating privileges immediately upon citation or arrest. Violating this revocation draws further penalties. Boating OWIs prove unforgiving.

Wisconsin rightfully takes drunk boating seriously by enacting harsh civil fines and criminal charges beyond DUIs for intoxicated watercraft mishaps causing substantial damage and injuries. Never underestimate the devastating potential of mixing alcohol impairment with machines capable of extensive harm. Making the wise choice to stay fully sober remains key for responsible water recreation.

Contact a Milwaukee County, WI, Traffic Violation Lawyer

When facing complex boating OWI accusations, it is beneficial to understand case-specific consequences and strategies to mitigate devastating long-term impacts on finances, freedom, and the future. Working with a Dodge County, WI, traffic violation attorney can help you navigate the process. Call Bucher Law Group, LLC at 262-303-4916 for a free consultation.

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