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Boating and alcohol consumption can lead to criminal charges

With the nice weather that we are having now and will likely have throughout the summer, people are enjoying spending time out on the water. Now is a perfect time for everyone who plans on spending time out on the water to remember that operating any watercraft after consuming alcohol can lead to serious criminal charges. In some cases, doing so can also lead to accidents that cause injuries or fatalities.

Your blood alcohol concentration is one factor that is used to determine if you should face criminal charges for boating under the influence. According to the United States Coast Guard, the legal BAC limit for boaters is .08 percent, which is the same as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in most states. Interestingly, this limit applies to people who are operating motorized watercraft, as well as those who are operating motorless watercraft, such as canoes and kayaks.

If you are approached by law enforcement officers on the water, you might face criminal charges if your BAC is over the legal limit. These criminal charges are much like other DUI charges, so you must ensure you build a defense accordingly.

When it comes to alcohol and boating, there is a very serious concern that you must think about. Unlike roadways, there aren't marked lanes or spaces on the water. This means that all boat operators must be cognizant of what is going on around the boat at all times. Being under the influence of alcohol can have a negative effect on your abilities to recognize hazards and react to them in an appropriate manner.

Source: Coast Guard Compass, "6 most common rumors about alcohol and boating," David J. Schuhlein, accessed April 22, 2016

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