New Jersey DWI Update: Drunk Driving Enforcement Extends to Boaters on Jersey Coastline, Inland Waterways

When it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol on New Jersey’s public roads, “tolerance” is by no means a word found in the vocabulary of the state’s law enforcement community. Similarly the state has no patience for drinking and piloting a boat along the Garden State’s coastline, its lakes or rivers and estuaries. DWI on the high seas, so to speak is just as serious an offense as here on land.

What’s surprising is that boat owners don’t always consider that the same standards which govern drinking and driving on public roads also apply to the operation of watercraft. Boaters must observe the same drunken driving laws as car, motorcycle and truck owners. Because of this, individuals who violate the DWI laws while boating are also subject to arrest for driving while intoxicated. And also included with this are those related offenses, such as prescription drug DUI and breath test refusal when the operator of a boat has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of 0.08 percent.

New Jersey’s statutes governing operation of a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are nearly identical to those that pertain to DWI with a motor vehicle. The penalties are also closely related. The implied consent laws that oblige a licensed driver to submit to a breath or blood test following a drunk driving stop also applies to the operator of a watercraft in New Jersey.

On the flip side, because the statutes are nearly identical between motor vehicle and boat operators, the approach to DWI defense is also quite similar. This fact means that a qualified and experienced drunk driving attorney can usually handle boating-related DWI cases with similar results — certainly something to consider with the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner and summer coming into full swing.