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Drinking and boating can lead to DUI charges

The Memorial Day holiday is nearly upon us. The long weekend is the traditional kickoff to what most everyone hopes will be a long, enjoyable period of summer recreation. But just as Colorado and the other states have laws against driving under the influence, it also has laws against boating under the influence. The charges and the consequences are serious and deserve to be taken seriously.

People from other states might not appreciate just how popular a pastime boating is in Colorado. According to the department of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are nearly 85,000 vessels registered with the state. And it notes that there have been a number of changes in the law in recent years that make it even more important for people to be paying attention when they are on the water.

Officials point to statistics from last year that indicate that a lot of boat operators have only the barest level of safety education. They also observe that in 2015 alcohol and drug use was evident in 8 percent of the watercraft accidents that were reported.

There was a time when the law allowed for boaters to have a blood alcohol level of up to .10 percent. If your BAC was under that, a charge of operating a vessel under the influence might be successfully challenged in court. But changes in the law now make it illegal to operate a motor boat or a sailboat with blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which most everyone surely knows is the same as applies if you are behind the wheel of a car.

Exercising good safety habits on the water is something from which everyone benefits and you can be sure that authorities will be out in strength enforcing the law. If you find yourself charged with boating under the influence, be prepared to protect your rights. Contact an attorney.

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