Illinois law prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of any watercraft within the state while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “watercraft” includes most motorized and non-motorized vessels. (625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 45/1-2 (2016).) Generally, a person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a watercraft while:
(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 45/5-16(A)(1) (2016).)
The consequences of an Illinois BUI conviction depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, the penalties are:
And for any BUI where there was a passenger in the watercraft under 16 years old, there’s a minimum fine of $500, and the operator must do at least five days of community services in a program benefitting children.
(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 45/5-16(A) (2016).)
Illinois law imposes a one-year operator’s privilege suspension for certain misdemeanor BUIs and a three-year suspension for all felony BUIs.
(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 45/5-16(A)(6) (2016).)
HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?
Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.
If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.
BUI law is complicated and changes frequently. If you’ve been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney. An experienced BUI attorney can help you understand how the law applies to the facts of your case.