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Boating While Intoxicated

Many people do not think about operating boats while intoxicated. They often do not equate waterways with highways, and people who would never think about driving a car when drunk, do not have the same inhibition when boating. This is a dangerous misconception. Boating is a very popular pastime in many coastal communities as well as in lake regions. It is also essential to the fishing industry which is a major economic engine in many communities. It is therefore essential that people who operate vessel on public waterways do so safely and responsibly. When people operate boats in an irresponsible and reckless manner, it may result in severe injury and even death. for this reason, New York State has strengthened its stance when it comes to enforcing safe boating. This effort includes an effort to place boating on even footing with the operation of automobiles. While the penalties for DWI on public roads have been significant for decades, there have not always been similar penalties for similar conduct during the operation of boats on public highways.

In recognition of this disparity the operation of boats and cars, the New York State legislature drafted legislation to increase waterway safety. Pursuant to Section 49-a of Article 4 of New York State Navigation Law, it is unlawful for a person to operate a vessel while they have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Moreover it is unlawful for a person to operate a vessel while intoxicated or impaired state irrespective of their BAC. Even if your BAC is below the limit of .08, you may be charge with Operating a Vessel While Impaired if your BAC is .04 or higher. If you are found to have been impaired with a BAC between .04 and .08, you may face up to 15 days incarceration.

Operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor and it is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine. If you have a previous conviction for operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be charged with a class E felony, which is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and a higher fine. It is important to understand that a vessel may be any boat that is propelled in while or in part by a motor. Under this description, many sail boats are vessels since they also have a motor. Our Boating While Intoxicated Lawyers represent clients who are charged with crimes involving operating vessels while impaired or intoxicated. This includes homicides that resulted from Boating While Intoxicated. If you or a loved one is facing charges involving Boating While Intoxicated, please contact us and let us help you in your time of need.

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