For legions of Illinois residents who annually endure some of the nation’s harshest winter weather, it’s akin to sheer elation getting out on the water when warm weather sets in.

Illinois is eminently accommodating in that regard, especially Lake County and the northeastern portion of the state in general. Lake Michigan beckons, of course, but so too do countless other waterways. In fact, the vaunted Chain O’ Lakes alone is a virtual water wonderland for scores of thousands of individuals and families bent on boating and relaxation each spring and summer.

There is another demographic, too, that takes a close interest in Illinois water activities during boating season.

Namely, that comprises law enforcers from numerous departments and agencies. They aren’t necessarily out to ruin boaters’ fun, but they can do so in a hurry.

Many Illinois boaters are sadly surprised each year to discover that they don’t figuratively or literally get a free ride out on the water in all instances. In fact, if they are deemed unfit to operate a watercraft because authorities regard them as being adversely affected by alcohol of drugs (OUI – operating under the influence), their up-to-then relaxing day can turn flatly nightmarish.

We expressly note that on a page of our website referring to drunk boating defense at Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta, Bawcum & Barone. And we stress that “authorities need no probable cause and can stop you for any reason on the water.”

That can spawn some true downsides. An online overview of Illinois boating-under-the-influence penalties reveals just how stark they can be. A first offense can in some cases yield a one-year jail term and a fine of up to $2,600. And a subsequent offense will be termed a felony and carry a far more stringent outcome.

Having fun on the water is an annual rite of summer for thousands of Illinois residents, and rightly so. When a BUI-linked arrest and criminal charge dampens the festivities, an affected party might reasonably want to reach out to a proven defense team for timely and aggressive legal help.