Michigan Boating While Visibly Impaired
The Marine Safety section of Michigan’s Environmental Protection Act makes it a crime to operate a boat while visibility impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Under this act, a boat, or “vessel,” is considered any type of water craft that can be used for transportation while “operation” means that a person is in control of the vessel while it’s underway.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for operating a motor vehicle intoxicated is .08% for drivers over 21; however, the legal BAC limit for boating under the influence is .10%. There is no Zero Tolerance law for boating while having a controlled substance in your system, which means that you cannot be charged for boating while intoxicated if you have taken prescription medication. Underage drivers are also not subject to a Zero Tolerance law, which means that a person under 21 will be held to the same standards as an adult.
A boating while visibly impaired charge is different than a boating while intoxicated charge—instead of showing that your BAC was over the legal limit, the prosecution only has to prove that your ability to operate the water craft was visibly impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. A skilled Michigan defense lawyer can look at the claims of boating while visibility impaired to determine if the evidence is accurate. Because the “proof” is based on observations by law enforcement, a lawyer may be able to challenge these subjective claims.
Causing a death while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol may result in a homicide charge. Michigan also classifies causing serious injury as a felony offense. If you are convicted of a felony homicide or serious injury charge, you could face prison time in addition to large fines. A third boating while intoxicated offense is also classified as a felony.
The strategies used to fight a Michigan boating while visibly impaired offense are similar to those used for an operating while intoxicated charge. For this reason, you should fight your charges rather than plead guilty. The Barone Defense Firm has experience with this type of law and will prepare a defense in order to reduce your chances of a conviction.
To schedule a free Michigan boating while visibly impaired case evaluation, please enter your contact information via our online form today.
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