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Gregg J. Stark Indianapolis DUI Attorney Gregg J. Stark Indianapolis DUI Attorney

Driving a Boat While Intoxicated

In Indiana, laws have recently changed in regard to operating a boat while intoxicated. Unlike what veteran boaters may have previously been accustomed to, boating while intoxicated is treated legally the same now as operating a motor vehicle (car) while intoxicated within the state of Indiana.

This reality comes as a shock to many leisurely enjoying a summer weekend on the lake. It usually takes several years before the reality of a change in laws to spread among the general public. Do not allow your fun in the sun to be ruined by not understanding these new realities in Indiana.

Frequently experienced boaters and fisherman have understood the authority of conservation officers to be more in line with enforcing littering and other non criminal types of aquatic activity when monitoring boating activities. Like those in all professions, don’t think for a moment that such officers are not aware of that perception. Unfortunately, many such individuals often allow their newfound authority in enforcing boating while intoxicated laws to be of the highest priority.

My experience with many types of law enforcement officials dictates that a sizable minority are attracted to the profession of law enforcement for the wrong reasons. While many conservation officers have entered this specific line of work due to a passion for environmental law enforcement, I believe that too many have secured such positions as a fallback when not hired by their desired police department.

Based upon experience as a dui lawyer in Indiana, I believe such conservation officers are in all too eager to create a law enforcement environment over aquatic activities on waterways that had previously been left mainly to enforcement of environmental safety and health concerns.

However, such officers relative inexperience as to the proper enforcement and apprehension of those they accuse of operating a boat while intoxicated can often lead to successfully challenging the course of conduct of these inexperienced officials not customarily apprehending drunk drivers on a year round basis.

In conjunction with a lack of experience, there is often too great a challenge for arresting officers on Indiana waterway’s to properly be in position to have subjects perform adequate field sobriety testing and/or to fully comply with timing compliance standards as governed by the Indiana department of toxicology.

Although Indiana law now allows for the treatment of boating while intoxicated to be the same whether in a boat, car or other motor vehicle, that does not mean that such a boating case is as able to be proven in the same manner as a drunk driving accusation made for one operating on a roadway. As a result, it is important to know that evidence challenges to boating enforcement on the water can allow for significant advantages over conventional land based dui charges when defending against these charges within the state of Indiana.

Should an arrest for drunk driving in a boat be at issue, I encourage your investigation of further information presented within the pages here as a means by which you or a love one can take the action necessary to protect your rights without delay.

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