Minnesota law makers have enacted statutes, in recent years, extending the DWI laws to the waterways. Now, if an individual is stopped on a lake or river and suspected of operating a boat in an improper manner, the law enforcement may determine that they have probable cause to believe the person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, then the police can request that the driver of the boat submit to a blood, breath or urine test, as they would in a drunk driving case involving a motor vehicle. If you have been arrested for bloating while intoxicated, you should seek out the counsel of a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
The basis elements that the State must prove to convict someone of boating while intoxicated or BWI:
- Operation of a boat; and
- Having a blood-alcohol content as measured within two hours of operating the boat of .08 or higher; and/or
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The same general procedures are that are required to followed as when a DWI arrest is made on the roadways.
Penalties for BWI are similar to those for operating a car while intoxicated, and the prior offenses for boating and for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated are aggregated together in order to determine how many prior alcohol related offenses the person has.
BWIs, like DWIs, are enhanceable offenses which means that each offense is treated more seriously than the previous one. There is no mandatory penalty for a typical first time DWI or BWI, unless there are aggravating factors, such as: a prior offenses, children present, etc.
Differences From Minnesota DWIs
There is some good news regarding boating DWIs as follows:
In Minnesota, open container laws (ie., open bottles) do not apply to boats. Passengers and boat operators can have an open containers containing alcohol. However, boat operators must operate their boats safely and not in a careless manner, or they risk being stopped and cited.
Don't Wait. Call For Experienced BWI Defense
If you have been cited for a BWI, call and experienced Minnesota BWI Attorney. The Rolloff Law Office can assist you. Call today for a free initial consultation: (612) 234-1165.