Facts to know about boating under the influence

Michigan boaters don't always remember how important boating sober is for their safety -- and for avoiding arrest. Numerous boating accidents happen every year because a boat captain got too drunk to pilot his or her watercraft. Also, every year many boaters get arrested for serious boating under the influence (BUI) charges.

If you're a boater, and you enjoy taking your friends out for some weekend fun on the water, there are a few things you should know about BUI.

Important information about boating under the influence

Here are some facts to give boaters some perspective about just how serious BUI charges are:

Police can pull you over: Law enforcement can pull your boat over if you look suspiciously inebriated. Waterborne police officers can pull boat captains over if they appear to be operating their boats suspiciously. Law enforcement may also create BUI checkpoints similar to DUI checkpoints.

You could lose your boating privileges: Boaters convicted of BUI may be in danger of losing their boating privileges and also their vehicle driving privileges.

You could face criminal charges: If police charge you with BUI, you will be facing criminal charges. If the BUI charges relate to a fatal or injurious accident, the potential punishments associated with conviction could be particularly severe and even involve jail time.

Police might take you immediately to jail: Just like police take drivers arrested and accused of drunk driving to jail, allegedly drunk boaters may also end up spending a short time in jail immediately after their arrests.

You can defend yourself against your BUI charges

Every Michigan boater accused of BUI will have the chance to defend him- or herself against the charges in court. If they successfully navigate their criminal proceedings, boaters may be able to get their charges dropped, dismissed or achieve a verdict of not guilty. However, if the evidence against a boater is particularly strong and conviction is likely, the boater might want to try to negotiate a plea bargain by pleading guilty to certain charges in exchange for less severe punishments.

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