Unlawful Use of Water Skis and Surfboards in Missouri
Believe it or not! Missouri penalties for Unlawful use of Water Skis and Surfboards:
Now a Class B Misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail)
Chapter 577.024.1 RSMo. Newly revised, and effective 1-01-17, “A person commits the offense of unlawful use of water skis and surfboards, if such person:
(1) Manipulates any water skis or surfboard in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life or property of any person; or
(2) Manipulates any water skis or surfboard while intoxicated or under the influence of any narcotic drug, barbiturate, OR MARIJUANA.
2. The offense of unlawful use of water skis and surfboards is a class B misdemeanor.
I have not seen anyone surfing (at least not on a Surfboard) in Missouri. Obviously the interpretation of the definition of a “Surfboard,” is meant to include Boogie boards, and other like boards as well.
So now, the Legislature has decided to not just punish the actual Operator of a Boat (which is a Motor Vehicle), but also anyone “manipulating” any water skis or Surfboard while intoxicated, or under the influence of any narcotic drug, barbiturate, OR MARIJUANA.
Consider that this is a major extension of law, to include not only the Operator Driver of the boat; but also anyone being pulled by the boat, on Water Skis or any type of Surfboard. This is an enormous extension of the law, to expand beyond the actual Operator of a Motor vehicle.
In addition, consider that for Alcohol there is a defined BAC, Blood Alcohol level, of .08 BAC, which creates a prima facia case of intoxication.
However, what about Marijuana? The Statute just says “under the influence.” So a technical and literal interpretation of the Statute, would mean that if a person had one hit off a joint, or a pipe, or vaporizor, etc., they are under the influence; because there is no legal limit for THC, at least not at the time of this writing. So, one hit of Cannabis, and then go Water Skiing, or ride a Surfboard, and you would be guilty, under the Statute, and at risk of not only having a Criminal conviction, but also at risk of serving up to 6 Months in Jail!
ALSO NOTE: The statute does not say you have to be being pulled by a boat. All you have to do to violate this statute, is to “Manipulate,” any Water Skis or Surfboard. Therefore:, based on the way the statute is worded, you could be surfing on your Boogie board simply under your own power, and you would still be found in violation. Again, just one hit of Cannabis, and go paddle your Surfboard, with your own hands, and by any technical or literal interpretation of the statute, you could serve up to 6 months in jail.
It would appear that the War On Drugs, and the War on Marijuana, is still continuing in Missouri. Legislators, that either write or pass laws like this, need to be voted out of office; and the people of our State, the Citizens of Missouri, need to be vigilant and aware of not only what our representatives are doing, but also of what they are proposing.
Steven F. Groce, Attorney
Offices located in Springfield Missouri.
Client Meetings: 1705 N. Jefferson Ave., Springfield, MO. 65803
South Office: (by appointment only)
1200 E. Woodhurst Drive, Bldg. B, Suite 100, Springfield, MO. 65804