Orange County, CA- According the U.S. Coast guard alcohol is the primary contributor to boating deaths throughout the country. An incident in the Orange County police harbor demonstrates the hazards of boating under the influence.
The Orange County Register reported that a 22 year-old man was seriously injured when he fell from a dinghy and ran into the propeller of another boat. The man suffered cuts to his head, face and chest and was listed in serious condition.
Authorities in Orange County suspect the young man was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred.
Boating is an activity many Californians enjoy and on holidays like the Fourth of July many of the states lakes and harbors become crowded with a variety of boats. This increase in traffic along makes the water treacherous enough, but when intoxicated boaters are added to the mix, it is likely a dangerous or deadly accident will happen.
According to the Coast Guard, alcohol is more dangerous on water than land because of the conditions on the water. The motion of a boat combined with the sound of the engine, exposure to the wind and sun can cause a boater to become intoxicated faster and more fatigued. All of these factors will negatively affect a boater’s coordination and reaction time. And, since boating is a recreational activity for most, intoxicated boaters are less experienced on the water than they are on land and therefore have less control over their vessels.
In the majority of alcohol- related boating deaths, a boat is either capsized or individuals fall of their own boats and drown.
Boating under the influence is a serious concern for authorities in Orange County and many people fail to realize the dangers of drinking and boating. Boat operators with a blood alcohol level of .10 or more are ten times more likely to be killed in a boating accident.
Being charged with BUI, boating under the influence, carries the same penalties as a DUI which can include a jail sentence of up to six months, fines up to $1,000. In California, the state is not allowed to revoke a person’s driver’s license for a BUI conviction, but should an offender face a DUI in the future a BUI conviction will be counted as a prior offense and can weigh heavily in a person’s sentencing if it occurred within seven years prior.
When you are facing a BUI, there are a number of defense strategies an Orange County DUI attorney can use in your defense. Many boaters are charge with BUIs for speeding, failing to turn properly, forgetting to turn on their lights or making risky moves. These are all behaviors that sober boaters engage therefore challenging an officer’s reason to stop you is an effective defense strategy.
A DUI attorney will also challenge the state’s proof of intoxication which relies heavily on the observations of an arresting officer and results from a breathalyzer or blood test. Questioning proof of intoxication can also be an effective defense strategy and help a person prevent a BUI or DUI conviction.