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BWI May Impact Driving If Bill Passes

Boating while intoxicated could impact driving on roads if legislation reintroduced recently in the state Assembly is approved this year.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Saratoga Springs, recently introduced A.9068 to amend the state’s Navigation Law to revoke a person’s driver’s license following a conviction for boating while intoxicated. Judges would be given the discretion to suspend a motor vehicle registration for a boating while intoxicated conviction as well.

“New York law prescribes heavy fines, imprisonment and the suspension of boating operator privileges for violators,” Woerner wrote in her legislative justification. “However, those convicted of operating a boating vessel while under the influence of alcohol are still permitted to operate a motor vehicle in the state of New York. Increasing the penalty of operating a boating vessel to also include the suspension of a violator’s driver’s license will further deter individuals from engaging in this dangerous behavior.”

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s website, 14 states tie boating under the influence convictions to a person’s driver’s license.

Alaska considers boating under the influence the same as driving under the influence, so a boating while intoxicated conviction can affect an Alaskan’s driver’s license as well. In California a boating while intoxicated conviction can lead to a driver’s license suspension or revocation. Hawaii gives judges discretion on penalties because boats are included in Hawaii state law as vehicles, which allows boating under the influence violations to impact a person’s driving record. Boating while intoxicated convictions in Louisiana can affect a driver’s insurance and driver’s license while multiple offenses of boating while intoxicated in Massachusetts can lead to a driver’s license suspension or revocation. Minnesota allows boating while intoxicated penalties to affect driver’s licenses up to and including the loss of a person’s motor vehicle. New Hampshire can lead to a fine and loss of a driver’s license for nine months, while New Jersey law allows for suspension of boating and driving privileges.

In Oregon, any combination of four boating under the influence or driving under the influence convictions leads to a felony charge. Texas law will suspend or revoke a driver’s license for boating under the influence convictions and Utah state law allows boating under the influence charges to impact a driver’s license as well.

Woerner proposed the legislation in 2016 and during the 2017-18 legislative session as well.

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