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Boating Under the Influence

When you imagine a party on a boat, people generally immediately assume that drinking is involved. In fact, drinking is often thought to synonymous with nautical culture, fishing, and relaxing on the waves. In New York nothing could be further from the truth. New York severely penalizes boating while intoxicated. The federal government also penalizes boating while intoxicated with a severe fine of up to $5000 or a class A misdemeanor federal crime.

New York’s law forbids anyone from operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal limit for the amount of alcohol that may be in a person’s blood when they are behind the captain’s wheel of a boat is .04%,which is much lower than the limit for Driving a Car While Intoxicated (DWI).

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The penalties under the state law are severe. New York State may impose penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1000. Two convictions for boating while intoxicated within 10 years will result in an upgrade of the charges to a class E felony with a maximum fine of $5000, while three convictions within 10 years will result in an upgrade of the charges to a class D felony with a maximum fine of $10,000.

Boating privileges may be suspended from anywhere between 6 months to 24 months depending on how many convictions and on how severe the convictions for boating while intoxicated are.

Chemical and breath tests for boating while intoxicated are administered in a similar manner to DWI tests and may include urine, breath or blood tests.

Whenever a police officer authorized to enforce the law on the navigable waters of New York has reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is operating a boat or other watercraft (including Jet Skis and similar watercraft) under the influence that officer has a right to demand that person’s name, address, and an explanation of the person’s conduct (subject of course to the person’s fifth amendment rights). Anyone involved in an accident while boating, at the request of a police officer must submit to a breath test to be administered by that a police officer. If the test shows that the driver of the boat is intoxicated that driver is required to submit to a chemical test. Also, if the driver of the boat is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that driver was in an accident, despite the fact that the police officer did not see the accident it will be legally implied that the person who is intoxicated was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Boating while intoxicated is a serious crime that needs serious representation. Our team of experienced Driving While Intoxicated and Boating While Intoxicated, New York Criminal Attorneys is ready to evaluate your case. Our lawyers know not only the law but the science behind DWI/BWI cases and can help you understand your rights and options. Please give us a call, today, for a free consultation.

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