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Minnesota Law Enforcement Increases Focus on Boating Under the Influence

With summer now upon us and Fourth of July almost here, Minnesotans across the state have ample reason to enjoy the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and spend some time on the water. For many, this can involve a range of boating activities – from canoeing and fishing to powerboating, skiing, and water sports. However you may choose to enjoy the busiest boating time of year, the most important thing to remember is safety and sober boat operation – especially as Minnesota law enforcement begins its annual crackdown on drunk boating.

From the First of July and through the rest of the summer months, state and local law enforcement agencies will be increasing their focus on stopping and arresting boaters suspected of boating under the influence (BUI). This increased enforcement campaign includes the 10th annual Operation Dry Water Campaign, which is part of a larger national effort to deter drunk boating around the Fourth of July holiday week.

As local officials want to make clear, drunk boating is one and the same as drunk driving. That’s true in terms of the dangers it can pose to others on the water – as well as the increased risks of accidents, injuries, and deaths. Last year in Minnesota, alcohol intoxication played a role in at least half of the 12 boating deaths statewide. It was also a major factor in a number of boating accidents and injuries, and accounted for the nearly 520 arrests police and other law enforcement officers made during last year’s Operation Dry Water Campaign nationwide.

Boating Under the Influence in Minnesota

If you have plans to enjoy the open water by using a boat, be sure to remember that boating under the influence (BUI) is a crime in the state of Minnesota. Although you’re on the water, the same .08 BAC limit that applies to drivers of motor vehicles will also apply to boat operators. Boaters will also be subject to field sobriety tests when stopped under suspicion of operating their boat while intoxicated. However, these tests don’t involve walking straight lines, but rather moving hands and fists in a step-like manner away from the body.

Ultimately, boat operators with chemical test results at or above the legal limit (or even below in some cases) can be arrested and charged with a crime when law enforcement officers believe their ability to safely operate a boat has been compromised. Such charges, like any DUI or DWI, can result in serious short- and long-term penalties that can have a profound impact on one’s future. As such, working with experienced and proven defense attorneys can make all the difference.

At Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., our Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers have decades of collective experience fighting for clients charges with all types of crimes – including boating under the influence. If you or someone you love has been charged with BUI at any lake in the state of Minnesota, our legal team is available to help you learn more about your rights, potential defense strategies, and how we can fight to protect your freedom and future. Contact us to request a free and confidential consultation.


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