For many, spending an afternoon on the water may be an ideal form of relaxation. There are few things better than cruising around the lake in a boat while enjoying the company of friends or family. It is hardly surprising, however, that a large number of boaters also incorporate alcohol into their recreational activities. When alcohol use leads to drunken boating or boating under the influence, the situation can quickly turn dangerous or even deadly. In addition, a person found to be operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face charges and penalties similar to those for operating a motor vehicle under the influence .
Deadly Accident Leads to Updated Laws
In 2012, a 10 year old Libertyville boy named Tony Borcia was boating with his family on Petite Lake, part of Illinois’ popular Chain O’Lakes. The young boy was riding on inflatable tube being towed by his father when he fell off the tube. Despite Tony’s bright red lifejacket, a large boat struck the boy, killing him instantly. The driver of the second boat was later found to have been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the crash, and was subsequently sentenced to a 10 year prison term.
Following the incident on Petite Lake, several law changes have been made in Illinois regarding boating under influence. New measures went into effect concerning implied consent for chemical testing on the part of any boater involved in an accident causing serious injury or death. Failure to submit to testing, exceeding legal blood-alcohol content limits, or positive tests for drugs will result in a statutory summary suspension of the individual’s driver’s license.
On January 1, 2015, legislation became effective that allows law enforcement to seize watercraft involved in certain offenses related to drunk boating. Violations of operating under the influence and careless or reckless operation of a boat or personal watercraft may lead to the seizure and impoundment of an individual’s boat or watercraft. Additionally, boaters who are towing water-skiers or riders on a tube must display an orange safety flag to notify other boaters of their activities. In doing so, Illinois officials hope to prevent another tragic accident like the one that claimed the life of young Tony Borcia.
Legal Help for Boating Offense
If you have been had your license suspended for boating under the influence or are facing any type of related charges, you need a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to schedule your free initial consultation. We will review your case, explain your options, and help you decide what your next steps should be. Call us at 815-740-4025 today.