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Boating While Intoxicated

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, has taken a hard-line approach to individuals who choose to drink and operate any boat. The law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated. While some states may make exceptions based on whether or not the boat has a motor, Rhode Island applies this penalty to anyone who operates a powerboat, sailboat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard, or any similar device.

Intoxicated means that a person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or drugs that cause an individual’s actions or thoughts to be impaired resulting in a danger to others. Alcohol and drugs can both impair a person’s balance, blur vision, impair coordination, lessen judgment, and slow reaction time.

Rhode Island’s laws set the blood alcohol limit for boating at .08 or greater, like driving. The penalties imposed for boating while intoxicated vary based on the amount of alcohol that is detected in a person’s system.

For an individual receiving his or her first conviction for BWI who had a BAC of .10 or less, there is a fine up to $250, 60 days of community service, the loss of boating privileges for up to 45 days, and required attendance at a special BWI course.

As the amount of alcohol in a person’s system increases, so do the penalties imposed. In some cases, imprisonment can be an option/consequence. If a person makes a habit of being arrested for BWI, he or she can lose his or her boat or vessel. Imprisonment for up to five years may accompany this seizure.

Contact Us

If you have been accused of boating while intoxicating and would like to save your boat and your money, contact the Rhode Island BWI defense lawyer Matthew Marin at 401-287-4384.