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Can I be charged with the drunk driving of a boat?

Though the first day of summer will not officially arrive for a few more weeks, many Sheboygan residents view Memorial Day as the start of the season. Those who were lucky enough to enjoy the holiday with their families and friends may have done so near or on some of the many lakes and rivers that decorate the Wisconsin landscape. However, as the weather warms and more individuals spend their leisure time outdoors, it is important that they remember drunk driving charges can result from operating boats and watercrafts with alcohol in their systems.

Wisconsin penalizes those individuals who are convicted of operating boats and other watercrafts while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the state's statute on this matter encourages the "vigorous prosecution" of people found to be unable to safely operate vehicles on the water. Additionally, people whose blood alcohol concentrations exceed .08 may also be prosecuted for drunk driving charges when they operate boats, jet-skis and other water-based vehicles on Wisconsin lakes and waterways.

The penalties associated with drunk boating and operating watercrafts while intoxicated can be significant. A person may lose his or her right to operate a water-based vessel; some drunk boating convictions may also affect an individual's right to drive a car. Drunk boating convictions can lead to jail time, fines and other criminal penalties.

A day out on the water can be a great way to enjoy the warm summer months. However, when law enforcement officials suspect that alcohol is involved, some Wisconsin residents may find themselves facing criminal charges for their boating activities. Drunk boating charges can impact people's lives just as drunk driving and DUI charges do. Therefore, those who face such charges can choose to defend themselves with legal defense strategies. This could help the defendant not only protect their rights but also aid them in reducing or dismissing the charges against them.

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Melowski & Associates, LLC
524 South Pier Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081

Phone: 920-299-5074
Fax: 920-395-2443
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