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Operation of Watercraft Under the Influence

Operation of Water Under the Influence (OUI) of Alcohol, Drugs or Intoxicating Compounds in Illinois

It is illegal to operate or be in physical control of any watercraft within the state of Illinois while under the influence of alcohol, drugs and / or intoxicating compounds. The term "watercraft" refers to most motorized and non-motorized vessels.

In general, a person can be convicted of OUI for operating any watercraft while:

  • Impaired by alcohol, drugs, other "intoxicating compounds" or a combination of any or all to such a degree that the individual is not capable of safely operating the watercraft
  • Having a concentration of 5 nanograms or more of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of a different bodily substance
  • Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater

In general - one can be charged with an OUI based on an actual perceived impairment (according to the arresting law enforcement officer's discretion) or any amount of drugs, alcohol or intoxicating compounds, or any combination of the above, in your system.

OUI Penalties

Each case/incident/situation is unique, and the consequences of an Illinois OUI depend on the circumstances and presented facts. Generally, the penalties are as follows:

  • 1st OUI Offense. A standard first-offense OUI is a Class A Misdemeanor that carries up to $2,500 in fines along with up to 364 days in jail.
  • 2nd OUI Offense. If an OUI offender has at least 1 prior OUI conviction, the 2nd offense can be a Class 4 Felony, which carries up to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • OUI involving serious injury. If a OUI offender is involved in an accident that causes "great bodily harm" or "permanent disability or disfigurement" to another person, the offense will be a Class 4 felony, which carries up to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • OUI on Suspended Operator's privilege. If a watercraft operator gets an OUI while the boater's privilege to operate a watercraft is suspended because of an OUI-related offense, the offense will be a Class 4 Felony, which carries up to 3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
  • OUI involving Death. Where an OUI offender is involved in an accident that causes the death of another person, the offense will be a Class 2 Felony and carry a 3 to a 14-year prison sentence and up to $25,000 in fines.

And for any OUI where there was a passenger in the watercraft under 16 years old, there's a minimum fine of $500.00, and the operator must complete at least 5 days of community service.

Operator's Privilege Suspension

Illinois law imposes a 1-year operator's privilege suspension for certain Misdemeanor OUIs and a three-year suspension for all Felony OUIs.

Schedule a Free Consultation With One of Hirsch Law Groups's Skilled and Experienced Attorneys

OUI law is complicated and is constantly being updated and modified. If you have been arrested for Operation of Watercraft Under the Influence, please get in touch with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. An experienced OUI attorney can help you understand how the law applies to the facts of your case.

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