Can You Go to Jail for Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin?

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serious set of penalties.

Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from operating a motorboat or waterskiing (or using other, similar devices on the water) if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bottom line is that if you’re caught – and many people are – you could end up spending time in prison.

Drinking and Boating: Implied Consent

Any time you operate, or even attempt to operate, a watercraft or other vessel on Wisconsin’s waterways, you’ve given your implied consent to an alcohol or drug test. What that means is that if you try to operate a watercraft, you’re telling the police that you’ll submit to testing if they think you’re under the influence.

If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or greater, or if you’re under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, it’s illegal for you to:

  • Operate a motorboat
  • Use waterskis
  • Use a surfboard
  • Use a tube
  • Use another type of device

If you’re caught drinking and boating, you can face the same penalties you would face if you were operating a motor vehicle in the same conditions. You could end up going to jail, paying fines, and having your boat impounded.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer in Milwaukee About Drinking and Boating Charges?

If you’ve been charged with BUI, which stands for boating under the influence, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with our BUI lawyers online. We’ll answer your questions and help you start moving forward.

Carlos Gamino

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Is Drinking and Boating Illegal in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino
By Carlos Gamino

Is drinking and boating illegal in Wisconsin?

Absolutely – and the penalties if you’re caught and convicted can be extremely harsh. The state considers drinking and boating such a serious crime because of the potential for someone to get hurt. It’s not uncommon for inebriated boaters to crash into other boats, slam into swimmers or hurt themselves out on the water, so the state created a
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