What you need to know about Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) laws in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2016 | BWI, DWI |

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of boat owners across the state.

In fact, conservative estimates suggest there is about one boat for every six people who live here, so if you own a boat here are a few things you need to know about Boating While being Intoxicated.

What is the law when it comes to BWI in Minnesota?

Minnesota law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated (BWI), which could involve operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or other illegal chemical.

In Minnesota, it is illegal to operate a boat or personal watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08 and if you violate this law you may face being charged with BWI (Boating While Intoxicated).

What are the consequences of a BWI?

The Consequences of a BWI in Minnesota are nearly the same as those of a DWI offense. A first time charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, payment of a fine of $1,000, and suspension from operating a boat for 90 (boating season) days.

Are there any Aggravating factors?

If certain “aggravating factors” are present, a BWI charge can become a gross misdemeanor or a felony and can result in heavier sanctions.

These can include;

  • A prior conviction for DWI or test refusal in the past 10 years
  • Carrying a passenger under the age of 16 at the time
  • Operating a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent or more

In Minnesota the higher the degree of the offense when it comes to BWI, the stricter the punishment and the presence of any of these factors could result in a higher sentence.

These could be;

  • A fine of up to $3,000
  • Chemical Dependency assessments
  • A longer jail sentence
  • Having to participate in a long-term monitoring program.
  • The loss of your driver’s license and privileges
  • Plate impoundment of all motor vehicles owned by the offender
  • A complete forfeiture of the boat involved in the incident


And what felony BWI charges?

A felony BWI charge is the most serious offense and in addition to the above sanctions, felony BWI offenders can be sentenced to:

  • Three to seven years in jail
  • Up to $14,000 in fines
  • Extended periods of license revocation

Hiring a Minnesota BWI attorney

If you have been charged with BWI in Minnesota you will need to be represented by a specialist lawyer. At DWI Guys Our job is to assert and defend your rights and to make you feel at ease about the charges against you so that you can get on with your life.

Contact an experienced BWI attorney today by calling 612-688-2299.



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