It is common knowledge that consuming alcohol while operating a motor vehicle is illegal and can have serious consequences. Drunk drivers contribute to thousands of fatal accidents every year in Maryland and across the country. Being arrested on suspicion of DUI is a serious matter and could result in jail time if a person is convicted. Now, boating under the influence can now show up in DUI records of offenders in Maryland.
House Bill 483
In a recent announcement, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said charges related to boating under the influence will now count towards past DUI charges. The law is referred to as House Bill 483. It allows authorities to examine charges in an individual’s vehicle or boat operating history to more accurately determine penalties for repeat offenders.
Reportedly, boaters who have a blood alcohol content above .08 or are determined by law enforcement to be so impaired that they cannot safely operate the boat would be subject to charges of Grossly Negligent or Drunk or Drugged Operation of Vehicle or Vessel. The DNR noted alcohol consumption played a role in two fatal boating accidents last year in Maryland. The new bill was signed into law by Governor Wes Moore and went into effect on Oct. 1.
Sometimes, those who routinely consume alcohol may not be aware when they’ve had too much. Anyone who gets behind the wheel while impaired puts themselves and others at risk. They also could face criminal charges for driving under the influence if they are stopped by law enforcement. Those in Maryland who have been accused of DUI have the right to speak with a legal representative. An experienced criminal defense attorney can examine the individual’s specific situation and present a defense against the allegations.