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Michigan boaters could face same DUI charges as drivers

After a long winter, spring has finally returned. With snow melting off the grass and ice melting off the lakes, many Michigan residents are ready for summer. With every summer come all the benefits that follow. Boating on the lakes, weekends at the cabin, ice cold beer on the beach and high temperatures are what the summer is all about. However, those residents who enjoy drinking while driving their boat may be interested to know that lawmakers are attempting to decrease the legal blood alcohol limit of operating a boat.

Michigan lawmakers will determine whether or not boaters should be held to the same drunk driving standards as motor vehicle drivers. As of now, Michigan residents can operate their boats while under the legal BAC limit of 0.10 without facing drunk driving charges. The new bill hopes to decrease the BAC limit to 0.08, the same standard as automotive drivers. The same bill would also apply to snowmobile and off-road vehicle drivers. The aim of the bill is to increase the safety of the state's lakes, off-road trails and snowmobile routes.

Drunk driving can happen in the snow, on the road and even in the water. In 2007 there were 40,584 people arrested for drunk driving in Michigan alone. Any individual facing drunk driving charges could possibly face several harsh consequences depending on a variety of factors.

For instance, individuals who are pulled over with a BAC level of .17 or higher could face Michigan's "super drunk' DUI laws. They deliver harsher penalties including larger fines and mandatory alcohol classes. The penalties also apply to those with a DWI first offense. Repeat offenders could face felony charges. Also, many times individuals can lose their license from a DUI charge.

Drunk driving charges occur on a daily basis in Michigan. They can be extremely detrimental to one's life. An experienced attorney may be able to advise individuals about their options when facing a DUI conviction.

Source: wxyz.com, "Michigan lawmakers seek to reduce level at which boaters are legally drunk," March 30, 2013

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