Alabama has a longstanding boating culture that is active year-round. Fun on the water for many avid boaters, includes drinking beers and other alcoholic beverages. While drinking and boating is illegal, the penalties were never as severe for boaters as they were for the drivers of motor vehicles. Now, the Alabama Senate has approved a bill that cracks down on drinking and boating. According to the new laws, penalties will be stiffer for those who cause a deadly accident while drunk, equivalent to those for a drunk driver. The bill is on its way to the House, which has already passed a similar bill that is heading to the Senate.
While the bill will not impact all drinking and boating cases, it will result in severe penalties for drivers who are responsible for a deadly boating accident. Our Birmingham drunk driving attorneys are experienced with complex cases involving DUI accidents and injury. Understanding that the penalties for our clients can be severe, we take a strategic and comprehensive approach to criminal defense. Our priority is to minimize your charges and penalties to achieve optimal results.
If you have been arrested and charged with boating under the influence, it is important to be aware of the severe penalties you may face. An experienced advocate can also explore all of your defense options. Potential penalties for boating DUI include driver’s license suspension, mandatory alcohol assessment, long-term driver’s suspension, installation of ignition interlock, or loss of a CDL. In addition to these penalties, any boater accused of drunk driving can also face significant financial penalties and jail time.
Remember that boating (or BUI) laws apply to drivers of all motorized watercrafts, including speed boats, jet skis, as well as non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks and inflatable rafts. One of the reasons that boating under the influence is so dangerous is that it can result in accidents and drowning. Under new Alabama boating and drinking laws, drivers under the influence can be held responsible for these accidental deaths. This means severe penalties, including a potentially long-term jail sentence. You can also be criminally charged if you were in control of a vessel, but not actually driving. For example if you fall asleep on a boat while you are over the legal limit.
If you are out on a lake or on the Alabama coast, you should always have a designated driver. In the event that you are stopped or charged with a BUI/DUI offense, you should know your rights and what action to take to minimize the consequences of these charges. You can take immediate action by having your case reviewed by an attorney to protect your license. Refusing a breath test could result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. You may also be able to challenge other evidence presented against you, including breath test results, field sobriety tests, or probable cause assertions made by the officers.
If you are out boating, this spring or summer, remember the dangers of drinking and driving. Also be aware that the Alabama legislature has made penalties for an injury or accident more severe. An experienced advocate can review your case and explore all potential defenses to reduce your charges and sentence.