Recreational boating is an activity that many Virginia Beach and Chesapeake residents enjoy. The summer months are long, and cruising on a boat for pleasure or going out on a fishing trip are examples of pastimes that make the Tidewater region so attractive to residents and guests.

For those pursuing recreational boating endeavors, it is important to observe safety standards and laws which have been put in place for the protection of everyone. In fact, recreational boating is the 2nd leading cause of fatalities each year, and many incidents involve alcohol, according to the Virginia Beach Government Boat Safety homepage. (link below)

Click here for Boating Safety Tips (provided by the City of Virginia Beach)

Is there a Drunk Boating Law? How am I Affected?

First and foremost, if you have a pending case you should contact your local Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer.

Persons convicted of Section 29.1-738.B face a minimum of a class 1 misdemeanor charge. In Virginia, a first time offender of the “drunk boating” statute may face the loss of boating privileges for a year.

More serious penalties can be implicated, however. For example, if the operation of the watercraft is particularly reckless, and another person is unintentionally injured, the accused may face a much more serious charge, such as a Class 6 felony, if the person is permanently injured.

Boating while intoxicated is a charge that may carry with it significant penalties. The violation is similar to the drunk driving laws in Virginia, as far as BAC levels are concerned. Your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer is in the best position to assess the penalties you may face if charged, and/or how to best defend the case.