Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.

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Don’t underestimate the severity of boating while intoxicated

As summer continues in full swing, New Jersey residents head out to the beaches in droves to take part in boating activities, a favorite pastime of sun-lovers across the country. Where recreational activities and good company meet, alcohol almost certainly follows. Boaters should understand the serious consequences that can result when they combine drinking with operating a watercraft.

FindLaw claims that BUI – boating under the influence – charges increase over the summer months, with the U.S. Coast Guard stating that alcohol is responsible for more fatal boating accidents than other factors. In fact, more than half of all boating accidents involve intoxication. It is not strictly illegal to sit at the wheel of a water craft with an alcoholic beverage in hand, which may lead many boaters to falsely assume they can pilot their boat while drunk.

NJTV News explains that in New Jersey, boaters are held to the same standards regarding alcohol as they would be driving a car. To start with, it is unlawful to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, the same as driving a motor vehicle on land. Those who are convicted of a BUI may face such penalties as losing their boating privileges, having their driver’s license suspended, being charged with fines and serving time in jail. If someone is injured or killed in a boating accident in which alcohol was a factor, the responsible person may face significant charges, including prison time.

It may be necessary to seek experienced counsel when defending boating while intoxicated charges, since boaters are often unaware that their actions were illegal.

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
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