DUI laws are in place to protect everyone on the roads, but they can also apply to other modes of transportation. It’s important for boaters to understand that driving a boat while intoxicated can be just as dangerous as driving a car. Laws about piloting boats while under the influence of drugs and alcohol vary between states. In Maryland, a new law will impact boaters when they are accused of driving under the influence.
How the new law works
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the new law will impact those charged with boating under the influence. Past charges of DUI will now be considered when one is charged with boating under the influence. This could mean those convicted could face more severe penalties. This law comes after the state saw 11 alcohol-related fatal boating accidents last year.
House Bill 483 outlines the terms for when a boater can be charged with grossly negligent or drunk operation of a vessel. Those with a blood alcohol limit of 0.08% may face DUI boating charges. One may also be charged if a law enforcement officer determines that one cannot safely operate a water vessel. These charges may come with fines and/or imprisonment depending on the case.
What to do when facing DUI charges
A DUI conviction in Maryland can carry heavy consequences. Every person facing criminal charges has the right to defend themselves in court. When facing serious charges related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether one was in a boat or another type of vehicle, one should seek legal advice to understand how best to formulate a defense.