Questions and Answers Regarding the Revised Drunk Boating Laws in the State of Michigan
QUESTION: DO THE POLICE NEED PROBABLE CAUSE TO STOP MY BOAT?
ANSWER: The United States Coast Guard does not. However, law enforcement operating under the color of Michigan law do need probable cause to stop and/or search the boat.
QUESTION: WHAT DOES “PROBABLE CAUSE” MEAN?
ANSWER: Facts that would induce any fair-minded person of average intelligence and judgment to believe that a law or statute had been violated. Practically speaking, if you do NOT want to be stopped, then do NOT: 1) speed through no wake zones; 2) operate at night without navigation lights; 3) fail to follow the “right of way” rules.
QUESTION: I AVOID DRINKING WHEN DRIVING MY BOAT. I SMOKE MARIJUANA INSTEAD. AM I SAFE FROM BEING
ANSWER: Drunk boating is .08 or “any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule 1.”
IF WE ARE TIED UP BUT ENGINE RUNNING, AM I "OPERATING" THE BOAT?
ANSWER: “Operating” means the boat is underway and NOT docked, at anchor, idle or otherwise secured.
QUESTION: I’VE BEEN STOPPED FOR DRUNK BOATING. DO I HAVE TO TAKE A BREATH TEST?
ANSWER: A peace officer who has a reasonable cause to believe that a person was operating a vessel on the waters of this state, and that, by the consumption of intoxicating liquor, the person may have affected his or her ability to operate a vessel may require the person to submit to a preliminary chemical breach analysis.
QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF I REFUSE THE BREATH TEST?
ANSWER: A state civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $500.
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