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Louisiana will ticket drunk drivers of watercraft

The Bayou State lives up to its name by virtue of the many rivers, streams and wetlands that snake their way through its territory. Having easy access to bodies of water for fishing and other forms of recreating is one of the biggest advantages of living in Louisiana. In addition, many Louisianans earn their living on the water.

A day-long excursion on a boat can be one of the most pleasurable ways to spend your time. In addition, there is nothing wrong with taking along some beer or other refreshments to make the trip that much more enjoyable. But, if you choose to drink while operating a boat, be aware that it is possible to receive drunk driving charges on the water in the same manner in which you can receive them while on land.

The fact is, if stopped in Louisiana, any operator of a motor vehicle or watercraft is subject to DWI charges should their blood alcohol level be measured at .08 or above. Fines for first offenses range from $300 to $1000 and can also include jail sentences of up to six months. Each subsequent offense sees potentially heftier fines and longer sentences.

To be clear, in Louisiana, DWIs received on water are, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from DWIs received on land. A DWI issued on the water can cause you to lose your driving privileges as well as your boating privileges.

Should you receive a citation for DWI while operating a boat, treat it as seriously as a DWI received while driving an automobile. The potential for fines, jail time and revocation of driving privileges makes it imperative that you be apprised of all your legal options and of the consequences of those options.

A Louisiana attorney, who is accustomed to handling DWI charges, may provide you with a strategy to best protect your interests.

Source:, “Operation Dry Water patrols cite five for DUI,” Patrick Bonin, July 2, 2014

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