Taking a boat out on the Massachusetts coast or onto a lake is not unlike driving a car. Captains must avoid hitting objects, such as buoys and bridges. Crashing into another boat at high speed may lead to fatalities, which is why speeding and other ill-advised behavior is unwise, and operating a boat while intoxicated could have serious consequences.
Operating a boat under the influence
Anyone operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol may face arrest. The same could be true when law enforcement investigates a boat accident and the operator appears impaired.
The police may perform a Breathalyzer test after a boating incident. If the operator’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08, then the person is above the legal limit in Massachusetts. DUI charges may then follow.
Not every DUI occurs in conjunction with an accident, but boat crashes could lead to additional charges. Manslaughter might be one such charge if the collision resulted in a fatality.
Addressing boat-related DUI charges
Even if someone faces an arrest and court date for boating under the influence, a conviction might not occur. Criminal defense strategies may examine all the circumstances surrounding the arrest, including the actions of law enforcement.
Was the police officer trained properly to conduct the Breathalyzer test? Improper testing steps or using a poorly calibrated Breathalyzer may lead to false positives. Sometimes, a failed test derives from the suspect’s use of mouthwash. Alcohol in mouthwash could undermine a Breathalyzer test’s results.
The legal standard for probable cause extends to suspected crimes on the water. If the police lacked probable cause for a boating DUI arrest, the court might dismiss the case.