William Modene, 32, has reason to be confused. Modene was floating down Chena River when he was pulled over by Alaskan State Troopers on suspicion of Driving Under The Influence (DUI). He was seen drinking alcoholic drinks — not a practice unknown to many rivers. He blew a 0.313 (four times the legal limit) and was charged even though his vehicle was an inflatable raft.
The state law applies not just to motor vehicles and airplanes but “water craft.”
At 0.313, Modene’s breath-alcohol content was almost four times the legal limit for operating a vehicle, 0.08.
Modene was arrested without incident and was cooperative with troopers, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Modene posted $2,500 bail on Monday, according to the Alaska court system website.
Here is the state law:
AS 28.35.030. Operating a Vehicle, Aircraft or Watercraft While Under the Influence of An Alcoholic Beverage, Inhalant, or Controlled Substance.
(a) A person commits the crime of driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, inhalant, or controlled substance if the person operates or drives a motor vehicle or operates an aircraft or a watercraft
(1) while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, intoxicating liquor, inhalant, or any controlled substance, singly or in combination; or
(2) and if, as determined by a chemical test taken within four hours after the alleged operating or driving, there is 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood or 80 milligrams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or if there is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath.
A water craft is defined as a means to “navigate a vessel used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water for recreational or commercial purposes on all waters, fresh or salt, inland or coastal, inside the territorial limits or under the jurisdiction of the state.”
That is so broad that an inner tube on a river would suffice for a DUI. Ultimately, the police can argue that DUI laws are not designed to simply protect third parties but drivers. In this case, a rafter who is drunk could drown on the river. However, I find this a bit of a stretch for DUI laws. What do you think?
31 thoughts on “Alaskan Police Arrest Man For DUI — For Floating Down River On Raft”
This is my tipping point. I now fully believe we live in a ridiculous police-nanny state.
Time to start rubber padding everything to protect us from ourselves!
A bit of a stretch, JT? It’s absurd. It’s this type of law twisting that undermines people’s belief in law and it undermines the legitimacy of the police. It’s petty tyranny.
It is possible to discuss Alaska w/o mention of Palin..in circles of sane people anyway.
Demand a jury if they have those things up in Palin country. Bring the raft into the courtroom as Exhibit A. Stand in the raft during closing argument and ask what planet we live on. Ask the jury to deport the cop to Canada, deport the prosecutor to that place that one can see from Palin’s porch called Siberia. RWI– rafting while intoxicated. It is a god given right in Alaska. Or if you have a sled dog then a dog given right.
Stephan, I have visited your beautiful state twice. And, I believe this arrest is just cop testosterone. However, it’s tough to not see a stop sign in Alaska w/o bullet holes in it. Like the state where I reside[Wi.], you folks have an alcohol problem. You can’t deny that. We agree on this being overkill, but cops in Alaska are dealing w/ a pathology that has to change.
“Navigating” would be the key word, I think. I’m glad the police stopped him from hurting himself, and perhaps public intoxication laws might apply, but DUI is far too excessive.
1. The politicians who pass laws like this know full well who else benefits
from them, besides themselves.
2. Why be outraged over it? THINK of it as a “full employment” effort for the legal/judicial/LEO industrial complex.
A raft is not a vessel. I guess the guy will have to dig up some case law from the 16th century.
Alaska used to be a great place.
It is now run by overzealous law enforcers from every agency.
When can a guy just float and get drunk and mind his own business and forget his troubles?
You can’t anymore. Some cop is gonna tell you that he is running your life not you.
Stephan G. Patterson Palmer, Alaska,……
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