Boating is one of Minnesota’s most treasured activities, but it’s also one that requires you to follow strict laws. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the laws that prohibit you from operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol. If you are facing boating while intoxicated charges in Minnesota, you need an experienced attorney to help build your case.
Understanding Boating While Intoxicated Charges
Any time you are operating a motorized vehicle, you need to obey the laws. Whether you are on land, sea, or air, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Doing so will result in serious charges.
The laws related to boating while intoxicated are very similar to those dealing with driving while intoxicated. These laws are designed to keep everyone on the water safe, not to take away anyone’s fun. In Minnesota, you cannot legally operate a boat or any personal watercraft if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08%. If you are caught at the helm of a boat with a higher BAC, you can be charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI).
A standard BWI is charged as a misdemeanor and can be punished by 90 days in jail and fines of $1,000. As with DWIs, the degree of punishment for a BWI depends on several factors. These factors, often referred to as aggravating factors, include:
- A blood alcohol content of great than .16;
- The presence of a minor under the age of 16 at the time of the violation; or
- A previous impaired boating conviction.
When any of the above factors are present, you can be charged with a second- or third-degree BWI, which is a gross misdemeanor. A conviction can lead to suspension of your boating license, fines of $3,000 or more, and jail time of up to one year.
If you are convicted of four BWIs within a ten-year period, you can be charged with a felony first-degree BWI. This can result in steep fines, long jail time, and permanent loss of your boating license.
Additionally, if anyone is hurt or injured while you are operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, you may face even harsher punishments.
Boating While Intoxicated Defense Lawyer
A boating while intoxicated charge is serious and should not be faced alone. As soon as you are aware of any charges against you, it’s important to contact an experienced defense lawyer. Your attorney will build a case to help you avoid conviction or face reduced penalties. Without a lawyer, you may find yourself losing your boating license, paying fines, or even spending time behind bars. If you want to get back on the water again, you need help.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you are charged with boating while intoxicated, you need a team of attorneys on your side. At the Brown Law Offices, P.A., we have the experience and knowledge to help you get the best result possible – so you can get back out onto the water. Don’t let a conviction for boating while intoxicated have a negative impact on your life. Call us today at 763-323-6555, or complete our online form for a free consultation.