Thousands of New Hampshire residents and visitors enjoy boating each season on our lakes and ponds. There are several leading causes of boating accidents, including alcohol.
New Hampshire law prohibits a person from operating a boat under the influence of intoxicants. Boating and excessive drinking is a serious crime and the laws are strictly enforced. The legal limit of the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% and if arrested for a higher BAC, harsh penalties may be imposed on the operator, based on the severity of the offense as well as the previous number of similar convictions. If convicted of operation or attempted operation of a boat while intoxicated, you may not operate a boat on New Hampshire waters for a period of one year from the date of a conviction. If you get convicted of “drunk boating” while transporting a person under the age of 16, you cannot drive a boat on New Hampshire waters again until you complete a 7-day program at the state operated multiple DWI offender program or an equivalent 7-day residential intervention program. Any conviction for driving a boat while intoxicated becomes part of your DMV record and your license to drive a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked as if you had been driving a car.
You need to remember that Marine Patrol can go onto your boat at any time for a safety check and regularly does so. They don’t need probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. If you do get charged with boating under the influence, it is critically important to find an experienced attorney because there are serious consequences – both your right to operate a boat and operate a motor vehicle are at stake.
Contact us at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey because we have experience with operating boats and defending alcohol-related charges and are available to assist you.