Boating is a favorite pastime of many people in the St. Petersburg area. Although most boaters are safe, in some situations boating can result in serious injuries. One of the most dangerous occurs whenever individuals operate a boat while intoxicated.
Consequences for Boating While Intoxicated
It is, of course, illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. Under Florida law, an individual is deemed intoxicated if he or she operates a boat under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol content greater than or equal to 0.08 percent.
An individual found guilty of boating while intoxicated may receive a range of penalties that may include a loss of driving privileges, significant fines, and even time in jail. The severity of the penalty will depend on the judge’s discretion, the driver’s recklessness, the number of previous violations, and whether or not the accident involved a loss of life.
Boating accidents can, and likely do, result in injuries. These injuries may range from minor to severe, and some may even be permanent. Common injuries victims suffer in boating accidents include:
- Death – The loss of a loved one results in significant emotional hardship for the deceased’s family, loved ones, and friends. In some situations, it can have a significant impact on the deceased’s family’s financial well-being. A report recently published by the United States Coast Guard breaks down the statistics surrounding boating accidents. According to the report, alcohol use contributed to 31 Florida boating accidents in 2016 alone. A total of 14 persons lost their lives in boating accidents in which alcohol contributed to the accident. It is clear to the United States Coast Guard that alcohol consumption is the leading contributing factor to fatal boat accidents.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – Because boating-related incidents most while on the water, the misconception exists that severe physical injuries don’t take place. Not true— any time the brain strikes the inside of the skull, it can result in traumatic brain injury. Thus, anyone involved in a boating accident is at risk for TBI. Even minor concussions can result in lasting complications without proper treatment. Severe TBI cases can leave victims facing long-lasting struggles with cognitive and physical abilities. These complications can affect a victim’s ability to perform everyday tasks, to work, or learn.
- Spinal cord injuries – Boat passengers are also susceptible to spinal cord injuries. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. Even when a victim does not suffer permanent paralysis, a lengthy rehabilitation process may result. Beyond hospitalization and rehabilitation, spinal cord injury victims may also need to drastically overhaul their life as a result of their injuries.
An intoxicated boater who causes an accident may be liable for paying damages to any injured parties. These damages can be significant. Moreover, they come in addition to any criminal fines and restrictions of freedoms that can be assessed.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney
Boating while intoxicated can result in lasting consequences. Hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one was recently charged with boating while intoxicated. The Khonsari Law Group is committed to providing you with outstanding legal defense. Schedule your initial consultation by calling (727) 269-5300 or writing us online today.