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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

Can I be Charged with Impaired Driving When I am Operating a Boat?


There is nothing quite as fun as heading out to the cottage during the weekend to enjoy the lake and take in some fresh air. However, the law still applies just as it does when we are at home in the city.

When you are at the cottage, having a few drinks while socializing is not to be unexpected. For some reason though, it’s easy to forget that impaired driving applies to all motorized vehicles. The law is the same for impaired driving, whether you are in a car on the highway, or in a motorized boat on the lake.

The consequences for driving a boat while impaired are the same as driving a car. If you are convicted, the minimum sentence for the first offence is a criminal record, a $1000 fine, and a one year driving prohibition. That driving prohibition applies not only to your boat, but to your car as well.

Impaired driving is one of the most complicated and technical areas of criminal law. The legal issues are complex and the consequences of a conviction are significant. You have rights if you’ve been detained by police but the onus is on you to raise your own defences, and provide the proper notice for experts or Charter challenges. Criminal lawyers have training and experience in substantive law and the legal process. In the same way one would be ill-advised to repair home electrical problems without an electrician, it is often better to consult a criminal lawyer before entering the courtroom.

Be aware that the police are patrolling Manitoba’s lakes looking for signs of impaired operation of a motorized boat. If you are going to enjoy an alcoholic beverage while you’re at the cottage, plan to stay home or choose a designated driver.

If you have been charge with impaired driving, please feel free to contact my office to arrange a free consultation.

To read more articles written by Joshua Rogala, click here to view his website.

*Note: The information on this page is for general knowledge and is not legal advice.

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