Driving a boat under the influence of alcohol, in Connecticut, has the same consequences as driving a motor vehicle under the influence. If you have any mental or physical disabilities that can affect your driving abilities then it is unlawful to handle a boat or watercraft in any waterway within the state of Connecticut. Keep this in mind if you are boating in Connecticut in the summer.
Fines and Penalties for Violations
- After your first offense a fine is likely to be placed on your crime. It ranges from $500 – $1,000. The other options include 100 hours of serving the community in some way, one year of having your boating license suspended, six months in jail or suspended, as well as probation. This crime is not taken lightly and has severe consequences even for a first offense.
- If your second offense occurs within ten years of a previous BUI charge, your fine increases to $1,000 – $4,000. Your license can be suspended for up to three years, two years incarcerated, or probation with 100 hours of community service.
- After your third offense within ten years of your first one, the consequences become more extreme than before. The fine ranges anywhere between $2,000 – $8,000 and could result in boating privileges being taken away for life. You can also be sentenced up to three years in jail or be assigned probation with 100 hours of community service.
These ramifications mirror motor vehicle DUI punishments. Unfortunately, during the summer, when the temperatures are warmer, is when BUIs become more relevant. It’s important to comply with the laws set in place so not only you remain safe, but also everyone else that might come close or pass your boat.
Enforcement officers have the entitlement to board and check boats. The boats that these officers drive flash blue lights so that drivers recognize who they are. It’s against the law to have or use any blue lights that can be mistaken as an officer. If you find yourself in a situation where an officer is flashing their lights and approaching you, slow down immediately and make sure you are not in the way of the officer as they check the boat.
The law in Connecticut specifies “under the influence” means a BAC level of .08% for anyone over the age of 21 years old. Tests that can gather this information include urine samples, breathalyzers, or blood tests. This law is put in place to prevent drivers from causing fatal accidents related to alcohol or drugs. The effects on your body includes blurred vision, lack of coordination, impaired judgement or flawed balance. At times, it can be hard to decipher how much alcohol or drugs you have actually consumed, but if you are the one held responsible for driving the boat, it is your job to make sure of your limits.
If you face a BUI charge in Connecticut, contact my office. I can get you the resources that you need to get through this charge.