June 17, 2013
Boating While Intoxicated: Know your Limits
Summer has arrived, and the boats are coming out after a harsh winter. Boating is a popular activity here in the midwest. Many people enjoy anchoring out, playing some music and soaking up the sun. It is fine to involve alcoholic beverages with your celebration, but you do need to be aware of some rules and limits. Just because you’re using a different type of transportation, doesn’t mean you can’t get arrested for driving a boat while intoxicated. BWIs (Boating While Intoxicated) is a serious matter and could get you in a lot of trouble.
The Missouri law used to state that the BAC limit while driving a boat was .10%, which changed in August of 2008. Now, the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in Missouri for driving both a car and a boat is the same- .08% Reaching that level or above can result in a BWI, which is defined by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Division as “operating a vessel while intoxicated due to alcohol or any combination of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs.” Remember, any level of alcohol in your system can result in a BWI.
How much can I drink?
The amount you can drink to stay under a .08% BAC level may surprise you. It varies from person to person, so understand there is not a clear-cut rule. Weight, gender, type of drink, and the amount of time for consumption are all factors that contribute to your BAC. Please note that beer bongs and large four-gallon containers are prohibited on all lakes. These containers are permitted on the Mississippi, Missouri, and Osage Rivers only.
Legally: If convicted of your first BWI, you’ll carry a Class B misdemeanor on your record. Second convictions are considered a Class A misdemeanor, and a third conviction is a Class D felony. Refusing to submit to a BAC test can result in arrest.
Financially: BWIs could potentially cost you hundreds of dollars.
It is okay to relax on a hot summer day with an alcoholic beverage, but know your limits. Check out the Missouri Boating Handbook online for a complete guide to the rules of alcohol on boats. If you find yourself in legal trouble, call the law office of Daniel C. Miller at (816) 875-0470 or contact us through our webpage.