Whether it is on a lake, a river or the ocean, many people in Virginia will head out on boats this summer. However, when a person is on a speed boat, a pontoon boat or any other type of boat, they should understand that they must take care if they are consuming alcohol at the time. This is because it is possible for a person to face criminal charges for doing so, as one incident at the end of June shows.
According to a news report, a York County Supervisor is facing criminal charges, including one for boating under the influence. He was stopped by Marine Police on the Poquoson River. The accused stated that he was heading home after dining at an area waterfront restaurant. He says he did see a Virginia Marine Resources Commission boat with its lights on, but did not realize it was heading in his direction. He stated that once he became aware the VMRC boat wanted to stop him, he signaled that he was going to stop at his dock for safety reasons. The dock was around 500 feet away and was lit. He says he never meant to evade the police. He also did say that alcohol was involved. The incident is being investigated.
While the accused is cooperating with the authorities, this serves as a good example of how boating while intoxicated can lead to criminal charges, just like driving while intoxicated can. During popular boating seasons, such as the summertime, marine authorities will be on high alert for those they believe are operating a boat while intoxicated. The legal limit for boating while intoxicated is the same as the legal limit for driving while intoxicated, at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content.
Anyone charged with DWI or boating while intoxicated can find that their personal reputation and professional reputation are at stake, especially if they are a public figure. Boating is a popular activity in Virginia, but if a person is accused of doing so while drunk they could face criminal charges. Those facing such charges will want to ensure they are able to develop a solid defense strategy in their favor, to attempt to avoid incurring harsh penalties.