A failed sobriety test will lead to arrest, even for boaters
During the summer months, there is usually an increase in drunk driving arrests as more people are driving and traveling. However, Tennessee readers should note that not only will drunk driving result in an arrest, but drunk boating will as well. In fact, authorities will be patrolling waterways over the summer, executing sobriety tests for boaters who are suspected to be drunk. As on land, a failed sobriety test on the water will lead to an arrest.
In the past, boaters who were suspected of drunk boating would be taken to land in order for law enforcement to administer sobriety tests. Now, however, new sobriety tests have been developed and are effective on the water. In fact, the tests are considered to be so accurate that the results will stand up in court.
Tennessee authorities who patrol the water have said that they will be watching for suspicious behavior throughout each day. Some of the tests required of suspected drunk boaters include the horizontal gaze nystagmus and the finger to nose test. Newer tests specifically designed to be administered on a rocking boat include tests of dexterity, mental comprehension and reaction times.
Whether an individual is arrested for drunk driving or drunk boating, he or she has the right to seek legal counsel and confront any charges filed. Unless convicted, a person is considered innocent in the eyes of the law, even if he or she was arrested after a failed sobriety test. A defense strategy should be tailored to the individual needs of the defendant. An appropriate defense can be determined by a legal professional after a complete case evaluation.
Source: wbir.com, “Boozing boaters beware: new sobriety tests work on water“, Jim Matheny, July 3, 2015