Boating While Intoxicated
In the past several years, Connecticut has stepped up its enforcement and prosecution of boating while intoxicated cases. The law mirrors the driving under the influence laws, with a few important changes. No person may operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Connecticut have increased.
As of October 1, 2003, a person shall be considered under the influence of intoxicating liquor if the ratio of alcohol in the blood is 8-hundredths (.08) of one percent or more of alcohol, by weight, or if the person is under 21 years of age, the level is .02.
The penalty for a first violation may be: a fine between $500 and $1,000. One year suspension of boating privileges and six months (at least 48 hours of which cannot get suspended or reduced) in jail. In addition, you face probation requiring 100 hours community service. The penalty for a second violation within ten years may include:
- A fine between $1,000 and $4,000.
- Three years suspension of boating privileges.
- Two years (at least 120 days of which cannot get suspended or reduced) in jail.
- Probation requiring 100 hours of community service.
The penalty for a third violation and subsequent violations within ten years may be: a fine between $2,000 and $8,000, suspension of boating privileges for life, three years (at least one year of which cannot be suspended or reduced) in jail, and probation requiring 100 hours of community service.
Penalties for refusal to submit to a chemical test are more substantial than failing the test. Also, and most important to boaters, if you are found to have been operating your vessel under the influence, your boating license will be suspended during the summer months, effectively ending your leisure activities for the year!