Operating A Watercraft Under The Influence (OWI)

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625 Illinois Compiled Statutes 45/5-16

Operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof

McHenry and Lake Counties are home to beautiful waterways and recreation areas. Many enjoy sailing, power boating, fishing, skiing and “tubing” on the Fox River and Chain o’ Lakes. Boaters will find plentiful dining and entertainment establishments on the lakes and river.

Illinois law prohibits operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

By operating or being in actual physical control of any watercraft on Illinois waters, boaters have given “implied” consent to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the content of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof in the person’s blood if arrested for operating a watercraft under the influence. If you refuse to submit to testing then you will lose your vessel operating privileges for a period of two years.

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WHAT CONSTITUTES OPERATING A WATERCRAFT UNDER THE INFLUENCE?

Illinois law states that a person is considered to be operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs if:

  • The alcohol concentration in his or her blood or breath is 0.08 or more, or
  • The person is under the influence of alcohol, or
  • The person is under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs and/or alcohol to a degree that renders him or her incapable of safely operating the watercraft, or
  • The person has any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in his or her blood or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis, controlled substance, or intoxicating compound.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR OWI?

Illinois law establishes the following penalties for operating under the influence (OUI):

  • A person convicted for the first time of OUI may be imprisoned for up to 364 days, fined up to $2,500, and have watercraft operating privileges suspended for up to two years.
  • Repeat offenders may receive more severe penalties.

The penalty for OUI is upgraded to a Class 4 Felony if:

  • The operator has a previous Operating Under the Influence (OUI) conviction, or
  • The offense results in serious personal injury, or
  • The offense occurred when the operator’s privileges to operate a watercraft were revoked or suspended.
  • The penalty for OUI increases to a Class 2 Felony if the offense results in the death of a person.

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At Franks & Rechenberg, P.C., we can help if you have been charged with the offense of OUI.

We can also help with Careless or Reckless Operation citations, Overloading citations and other operating violations.