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Wisconsin boaters can face drunk driving charges

In advance of the 4th of July holiday weekend, Wisconsin law enforcement officials are preparing to crack down on suspected intoxicated drivers. With many people planning cook-outs and get-togethers, police will be watching for individuals who have gotten behind the wheel after consuming alcoholic beverages. While many people will be worried about encountering extra police out on local roads, there is another place authorities will be watching.

Officials will also be looking for people engaged in drunk boating. Boating while intoxicated is a real and very serious charge in Wisconsin that can lead to substantial consequences if the person is convicted. Like traditional drunk driving charges, boating while intoxicated charges can lead to fines, jail time and other significant penalties.

With a plethora of lakes and rivers running through its landscape, Wisconsin is a state where boating incidents often occur. The Department of Natural Resources reports that just last year 13 people died in boating-related accidents. Alcohol was a factor in slightly fewer than 10% of the 87 boating accidents reported during the same time period.

This means that drinking and boating is a problem in the eyes of local law enforcement officials. They will be looking for opportunities to prevent accidents from occurring. Wisconsin boaters should be prepared to see DNR and law enforcement boats patrolling local waterways for intoxicated drivers.

If a person is charged with boating while intoxicated he faces many of the same decisions that people charged with DUI must make. He must decide how he will defend the charges and he can choose to work with a lawyer. He must be prepared for the consequences of a conviction and aware of his rights throughout the entire criminal process.

Source: The Leader-Telegram, "Officials look for drunk boaters," June 20, 2014

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