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Boating Under The Influence

May 24 | 2024  by

As we officially enter summer with Memorial Day Weekend upon us, there is an increase in outdoor activities across the state of Michigan, as well as an increase in travel as many Michiganders make their way up north.

Increased travels can mean a number of things including increases in accidents and increases in drunk driving and operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges. Another common issue that many people might not consider is boating under the influence. Many people do not consider boating under the influence to be similar to an OWI until an accident has occurred and it is too late.

What is Boating Under the Influence?

Under MCL 324.80176, the operation of a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is prohibited. Boating under the influence is similar to operating while intoxicated where the legal limit is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Additionally, under this law, the owner of the motorboat should not authorize the boat to be operated by a person under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

If you are boating this summer and someone visibly impaired offers to operate the boat, it should be treated in the same consideration as an impaired friend offering to operate a motor vehicle while impaired in that it should not be allowed under any circumstances. Although boating under the influence does not seem as common as an OWI, the penalty for such an act is severe.

The Penalties

If a person violating this law causes the death of another person they are guilty of a felony and could spend up to 15 years in prison and could additionally face fines of up to $10,000. If a person violating this act causes serious injury to another person is guilty of a felony and could spend up to 5 years in prison and possibly pay fines up to $5,000.

Finally, if a person under the age of 21 operates a boat with a blood alcohol level of 0.02 grams per 100 milliliters or more it is considered boating under the influence.

Summer in Michigan is something everyone looks forward to, do not spend it operating a vehicle or a boat under the influence. If you are facing an OWI or a boating under the influence charge, call criminal defense attorney Terry Priest of Fausone & Grysko, PLC at (248) 380-0000.