Accidents at sea are extremely common, but they can also be extremely serious. Many boating accidents result in life-threatening – if not fatal – injuries, but what not many victims know is that they have a right to seek help from a boating accident lawyer to evaluate the option of filing a case, especially if the incident was due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. When a boat operator is found to have placed lives at risk due to inexperience navigating their vessel, failure to abide by maritime safety regulations, speeding, or boating under the influence, they may be held liable for the incident and any resulting injuries to passengers – especially if the incident involved alcohol.
One Maryland state delegate is currently facing charges of Boating Under the Influence (BUI), after being accused of operating a powerboat while intoxicated over the summer. Maryland Natural Resource police announced on Thursday that multiple charges were filed against Don Dwyer, a Republican state delegate from Anne Arundel County, for intoxicated boating. Dwyer admitted that he was under the influence of alcohol when his boat collided with another vessel on the Magothy River on August 22. As a result of the crash, seven people were injured, including three children. The victims may be able to collect damages for their injuries and medical costs with the help of an attorney, especially after Dwyer confessed to being under the influence of alcohol.
After the boating accident took place, Dwyer spent a night in Shock Trauma at an area hospital, and upon his release, reporters were told that his blood alcohol level was 0.2 percent at the time of the incident. The legal limit is .08 percent. However Alcohol affects different people differently so sometimes, even if the actual blood alcohol level is low, a person might still be impaired. Since boat collisions can be extremely dangerous, it is imperative that pilots operate their vessels sober and aware of their surroundings to prevent injuries and fatalities from taking place.
As is not uncommon, there has been a discrepancy between what Dwyer says regarding his intoxication level and what authorities say really happened. According to the Department of Natural Resources Police, Dwyer’s blood alcohol level was actually .24 following his crash, which is three times the legal limit.
Dwyer has been charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, and if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of a one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. He has also been charged with three other offenses.
Despite the severity of Dwyer’s alleged crimes, the operator of the other vessel involved in the collision, 52-year-old Mark Harbin of Pasadena, was also accused of committing a violation. Harbin was charged with a “Rules of the Road” violation, which is not as severe as BUI, but carries with it its own set of penalties. Harbin was accused of failing to slow down to avoid the other water craft or take other necessary steps to avoid the collision.
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