In Louisiana, boating while drunk or impaired is a criminal offense similar to driving a vehicle when impaired. The proof of a boating under the influence offense and the punishment meted out for a conviction follow virtually the same rules. The parish sheriff's departments all have special units for law enforcement of boating operations. These enforcement units patrol the waterways applicable to their respective jurisdictions.
When a person is charged with a drunk boating allegation, he or she should obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. This will assure that all of one's rights under the law are protected and that a false charge is not allowed to stand. Where there is sufficient evidence and no viable defense, then the accused will need counsel to negotiate a plea agreement.
There is not a great legal difference between the boating and car or truck jurisprudence in Louisiana. Punishment follows the same contours, with enhanced penalties for higher blood alcohol levels and for those incidents where personal injury or property damage occurs. Repeated offenses will also carry enhanced punishment, including incarceration where appropriate.
Authorities recommend that boating enthusiasts always go on the waterways with all safety protections, including the mandatory life vests and related accessories. Drinking and boating under the influence is prohibited by the law of Louisiana. In some instances, where the facts are unclear or where the police exceed their authority or violate recognized protocols, criminal defense counsel, in consultation with the accused, may find that there is a viable defense to the charges. Where plea negotiations are indicated, an experienced counsel who is familiar with the state's boating laws, can be a valuable asset to the accused individual.