Having a few drinks while out on the boat is second nature for many people. Nothing says a relaxing day off the Florida coast like a cold beer and the bright sunshine on the water. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be harder to gauge how the alcohol affects you when you are out on a boat as opposed to in a more normal day-to-day situation like enjoying a beer on your sofa.
Many boaters understand that it is illegal to operate a vessel while intoxicated just like it is illegal to drive a car after drinking too much. People just assume that there is less risk of injury involved in drunk boating and also less risk of law enforcement catching them.
The negative consequences of an impaired boating offense in Florida could include fines and even jail time, even if no one got hurt. You could also end up paying a lot more for your car insurance.
Insurance looks at your criminal record, not just your driving history
You likely understand that your insurance company will look at your recent driving record when you apply for new coverage or ask to renew your existing policy. Florida and many other states maintain traffic offense records in a central database that insurance companies can check to verify how much risk you pose for a crash.
Insurance companies also look at other factors when determining how much risk comes with underwriting your policy. They will reference your credit report, as well as your criminal record. A drunk boating offense is a clear sign that you have violated alcohol laws previously and therefore that you pose an elevated risk of causing a wreck in the future.
Your insurance company may increase your premium costs by hundreds of dollars a year because they determine that you are a bigger risk after a boating offense involving alcohol.
Fighting back protects you from a criminal record and its consequences
Like drunk driving charges, drunk boating allegations will lead to a lasting criminal record that can limit your opportunities and embarrass you when you apply for new jobs, enrollment at school or rental housing. A criminal record will affect your insurance eligibility and may also impact your income by slowing your progression in your career.
Those worried about the consequences of an alcohol-related offense can look into ways to fight those charges. A successful criminal defense strategy can help you avoid conviction and can therefore eliminate the possibility that you will have to pay more for insurance because of something that happened out on the open ocean. Learning more about the possible consequences of different boating offenses can help you handle any allegations against you appropriately.