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Are There Differences Between BWI And DWI Allegations?

Summer in the Land of 10,000 Lakes frequently means a day on the water. The season’s warm weather offers a day on a boat or a Jet Ski, enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two. Police are on the water too, looking for anyone who might be intoxicated while operating their watercraft.

Boating while under the influence laws can be a bit confusing. If you have been accused of BWI in Minnesota, you need experienced defenders of your rights. Meaney & Patrin, P.A., is a team of comprehensive DWI attorneys.

Open Container Laws Are Different For Boat Operators

Boating while intoxicated has the same penalties as driving a vehicle while intoxicated. There is a difference in what can be charged. It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle while you are driving. It is not illegal if you are on a boat. There are also differences in the physical control standard.

If you are under the influence of alcohol, sitting with keys in your possession in a car that is not moving, you can still be charged with DWI. If you are intoxicated on a boat that is not moving, you cannot be charged merely because you are on the craft. However, if you are intoxicated and you are the only person on the boat when the police make contact, you can still be charged.

There Are Serious Penalties For Boating-Related Alcohol Charges

If convicted for a first-time offense, it will be charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties could include:

  • 90 days in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Repeat offender charges if you are ever facing drunk driving allegations
  • Suspension of boating privileges for 90 days (one year for test refusal)
  • Loss of snowmobile and ATV rights

Penalties increase if you are a repeat offender, if there were minors on board, or if you are accused of giving drugs or alcohol to a minor.

Boating Charges Could Affect Your Driving Privileges

A BWI conviction goes on your driving record. If you have a BWI on your record and you are charged with an alcohol-related driving offense, you would be a repeat offender.

The DWI Guys Will Work To Defend You And Your Rights

The DWI guys are aggressive representatives of your boating rights. We will look at your BWI charges, investigate the evidence and work to get positive results. Connect with us through email or by calling 612-688-2299.