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Can I Face Criminal Charges for Boating While Intoxicated in Wisconsin?

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Milwaukee BWI defense lawyerAs the weather continues to warm up during the summer, more and more people will be spending time on boats and enjoying the many rivers and lakes in Wisconsin. Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity, and it often involves the consumption of alcohol. However, boat operators should be aware that the same laws apply to them as to drivers of motor vehicles. This means that if a person operates a boat while they are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, they could face criminal charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s OWI laws apply to those who operate motorboats. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08% is in effect for boat operators, and a person may be charged with a criminal offense if a chemical test shows that they were above this limit while engaging in the operation of a motorboat. The legal limit for commercial motorboat operators is .04%. Boat operators may also face criminal charges if they have any amount of an illegal controlled substance in their system, and those who are under the age of 21 may be charged if they have a BAC higher than 0.0%

Operating a boat while under the influence is commonly referred to as boating while intoxicated or BWI. A person may be charged with this offense if they exceed the legal BAC limits or if they refuse to take a chemical test for alcohol or other substances. The penalties for BWI include:

  • First offense: A fine of $150 to $300.

  • Second offense within five years: Imprisonment for five days to six months and a fine of $300 to $1,000.

  • Third offense within five years: Imprisonment for 30 days to one year and a fine of $600 to $2,000.

  • Fourth offense within five years: Imprisonment for 60 days to one year and a fine of $600 to $2,000.

  • Fifth offense within five years: Imprisonment for six months to one year and a fine of $600 to $2,000.

  • BWI that resulted in a person’s injury: Imprisonment for 30 days to one year and a fine of $300 to $2,000.

  • Underage BWI with a BAC of less than .08%: A fine of $50.

In addition to these penalties, a person who is convicted of boating while intoxicated will also be required to receive a substance abuse assessment, and they may be required to participate in a treatment program. The court will usually also require a person to take a boating safety course and obtain a certificate of satisfactory completion.

Contact Our Milwaukee BWI Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged with OWI while operating a boat, you will need a skilled and experienced attorney on your side to help you determine the best ways to avoid serious consequences. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we can advise you of your rights and provide you with representation in legal proceedings. To get the defense you need, contact our Milwaukee, WI OWI defense lawyers at 414-271-1440.




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