Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)

Many people fail to realize that they can be charged with operation of a boat while intoxicated. A fun day on the water can turn into nightmare if you have been charged with Boating While Intoxicated.

What do I need to know about BWI?

A person can be charged with operating a vessel while under the influence. We call that boating while intoxicated or BWI. The legal limit for boaters is the same as drivers of motor vehicles, and is set at a .08. Because these arrests usually occur at sea, the police have designed special field sobriety testing to be done on boats. It involves the operator of the boat sitting; not standing. These tests are usually done with finger dexterity, hand pats, touching the finger, finger to nose, and always include the horizontal gaze nystagmus or eye test.

The penalties for boating while intoxicated mirror those for driving while intoxicated and entail both a loss of your boating license and your driver’s license. For a first offense boating while intoxicated, you will lose your boating license for one year, for a second offense, 2 years, and for a third offense, 10 years. In addition the loss of license for boating while intoxicated is the same as driving while intoxicated. Those convicted of a BWI must also undergo an alcohol evaluation at the IDRC and pay certain fines and penalties.

The best way to challenge a boating while intoxicated case, is to hire a lawyer who specializes in DWI defense as the science and technology is exactly the same. At the Hernandez Law Firm, we have experience challenging both DWI and boating while intoxicated cases.

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