Consequences for Boating Under the Influence in Illinois

joliet boating dui lawyersMemorial Day is coming up, which means picnics and barbeques will be enjoyed by thousands of families across Illinois. Traditionally, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer, bringing with it activities such as hiking, swimming, and boating. Many people probably think that having a couple of drinks while operating a boat is acceptable, but what many people do not know is that boating laws are quite similar to Illinois DUI laws. You can receive a DUI if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is more than .08 while you are operating a vehicle, but the same limit applies to those who are operating a boat.

What Constitutes Boating Under the Influence?

According to the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act, there are a couple of different ways you can be charged with boating under the influence. You can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI) if you are in actual physical control of a watercraft and:

  • Your BAC is .08 or greater;
  • You are under the influence of alcohol;
  • You are under the influence of any other drug or intoxicating compound that renders you incapable of safely operating the watercraft; or
  • You are under the influence of a combination of alcohol, drugs, and/or intoxicating compounds that render you incapable of safely operating the watercraft.

Consequences of BUI

LIke DUIs, BUIs also carry significant consequences if you are convicted. A standard BUI violation will result in a Class A misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500. If certain factors or situations are present, your charges could increase to felony charges.

For example, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony if you were previously convicted of boating under the influence or if you caused great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to someone other than yourself. Both crimes carry penalties of one to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

In addition, the Department of Natural Resources will suspend the watercraft operation privileges of a person found guilty of misdemeanor BUI for one year, while a felony conviction will result in the loss of watercraft operation privileges for three years.

A Knowledgeable Will County BUI Defense Lawyer Can Help You Fight Your Charges

With warm weather comes longer days, more time spent outside, and more opportunities to get yourself in trouble with the law. If you have been charged with operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need immediate help from a Joliet BUI defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we will help you fight charges related to alcohol use so you can enjoy the rest of your summer on the water. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

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