Michigan’s new DUI laws for boaters may put a crimp in some people’s summer plans, but for one Lake Orion man, that law isn’t going to make much difference. With a BAC of almost three times the legal limit, this is one boater who was likely going to end in “hot water” regardless.
According to Lake Orion Police, they were dispatched to assist someone in distress on a watercraft at about noon, after someone had called 911. Apparently the concerned citizen had noticed that the boat was going in slow circles, apparently aimlessly, and the driver was slumped over the wheel.
But by the time the officers arrived on the scene, the boat in question had crashed into another docked boat, which was thankfully empty. Police arrested the boat driver, who was highly intoxicated, and transported him to the Oakland County Jail.
Apparently the boater’s BAC was .24, which is three times Michigan’s new legal limit for boaters. Police records show that he will be charged with a single count of operating a watercraft while intoxicated, which is actually very lucky for him.
The Marine Safety Act does not consider a drunk boating charge to be the same thing as a drunk driving charge. Thus a boater with any former vehicular drunk driving charges would not be charged as a repeat offender for a watercraft DUI.
In this case, the 42-year-old from Lake Orion has a rather extensive criminal record which just happens to include four prior drunk driving charges. But none of those charges will affect his current one, and this drunk boating incident will be charged as his first offense.
There isn’t any information available right now regarding this man’s next hearing, nor whether there are going to be any additional issues arising from the fact that he damaged another person’s boat. But one thing we’re almost certain of is the fact that someone is likely to try to change the law with regard to the “repeat offender” status of vehicular versus watercraft DUIs.