With summer in full-effect, it’s important for those of you who are out to have fun on the water make sure you're aware that the police will be out in force watching for any signs of intoxication.
As more people head to the water for fun, law enforcement officials will be out actively searching for those who are BWI - Boating While Intoxicated. If you or someone you love find themselves as part of an investigation into Drunk Boating, your next best step is to call an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
What You Need to Know
If you're a real Minnesotan you know that drinking and outdoor activities may go hand in hand for some. However, you need to be aware that a BWI arrest is serious. Boating while intoxicated is generally treated the same as Drunk Driving. If a boater is found to have a BAC of .08 or more, they will be arrested and taken to jail. If the boater has a prior DWI/BWI conviction, the boater could also lose his or her driving privileges, both on land and on water.
If you’re convicted of a BWI, the offense could potentially appear on your motor vehicle record just like a DWI conviction. Even a first-time BWI charge, without a prior DWI conviction or designated license revocation, could result in severe penalties including substantial fines, loss of your boat operating privileges and potentially even jail time.
For those arrested for a second or third time, penalties will enhance for a repeat offender and can include automatic jail time and even loss of the boat you were driving at the time of the arrest.
The dangers of drinking and boating are as serious as drinking and driving a car. The fact is alcohol consumption while boating can be even more dangerous given that most boaters are less experienced on the water than on pavement. Most weekend boat operators are out driving a handful of times each year and are thus already more prone to dangerous accidents. Throw in alcohol consumption, and it can be a recipe for disaster. As further evidence of the danger, one statistic says that a intoxicated boater is 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than his sober counterpart.
Tips to Avoid Getting Arrested for a BWI
- Designate a sober boat captain prior to getting out on the water.
- Bring a variety of drinks including plenty of water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t assume that just because you are also eating on the boat that this somehow will reduce your level of intoxication. Remember, the best policy is to not drink alcohol at all, if you are going to be the one driving or operating the boat.
- If you dock somewhere to get lunch or dinner and drink with your food, again make sure you’ve previously designated a sober driver that can operate and bring the boat home.
If you’re facing a possible BWI charge, you need a skilled Minnesota BWI Attorney on your side. For quick, fast and honest answers, call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165.