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What Happens If I Am Caught Drinking and Driving a Boat?

 Posted on August 22, 2023 in Criminal Law

Waukesha County Drunk Driving Defense AttorneyGliding across the sparkling waters in Wisconsin and feeling the wind tousle your hair while soaking up the sun makes for an exhilarating time. However, the excitement can take an unexpected turn if you are caught drinking and boating. It may lead to a boating under the influence (BUI) charge. If you are drunk driving on the water, a Wisconsin attorney can help.

What exactly is a BUI?

Wisconsin's waterways are not outside of the law. Especially during long holiday weekends, conservation wardens and police patrols will scan the waters for signs of suspicious drivers.

Similar to drinking and driving, if you operate a motorized boat you are breaking the law when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. Under Wisconsin law that is considered intoxicated boating. Being under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs, can also lead to BUI charges.

Anyone who is caught breaking this law will face fines, have their boat impounded, and may even face jail time. Commercial boat operators must maintain a BAC lower than .04 percent.

Can I Have Open Containers on the Boat?

In Wisconsin, it is not illegal to have open containers of alcohol on a boat. This means your boat cannot be stopped simply for having alcohol. It could very well belong to a passenger and as long as they are not rowdy and interfering with the driver, it would not be a reason to be stopped.

What are the Possible Penalties for BUI?

If you are caught boating under the influence (BUI) for the first time in Wisconsin, you may face some penalties. You may have to pay a fine of as much as $300 and you may have to take a class about alcohol or drugs. But if you are caught a second time within five years, things get more serious. You might have to pay a bigger fine, up to $1000, and you could even go to jail for up to six months. If it happens a third time, the fine could be as high as $2,000, and you might be in jail for up to a whole year.

Contact a Waukesha BUI Lawyer

At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP we know how a BUI conviction can affect your life and work. An experienced Waukesha County BUI attorney will try to help you have the charges dismissed if possible. Call 262-232-6699 for a free consultation.

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