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DWI laws make it a crime to operate anything that is motorized while impaired. Therefore, DWI laws apply to boats and one can be convicted of DWI while operating a motorized vehicle such as a boat. This crime is commonly referred to as Boating While Impaired (BWI). If you have been charged with a BWI, contacting an experienced DWI Defense Attorney in Minneapolis can help you navigate through the next steps in your case.

Generally, a boater cannot be convicted of BWI while in control of a motorboat if the boat is anchored, beached or securely fastened to a dock. Similarly, one cannot be convicted of BWI if the boat is being rowed or powered by other mechanical means. However, if the boat has a motor and is merely adrift or in neutral one can still be charged with a BWI just as if the boat was being actively driven.

BWI Consequences

Depending on one’s prior DWI history, penalties for BWI can include jail time and severe monetary fines just like any other BWI offense. Further, even on a first BWI offense you can lose boat operating privileges for 90 days between May 1 and October 31 and the period will carry over to the next calendar year if not completed in one calendar year. Multiple BWI offenses can result in a forfeiture of the boat, which is the same as any other vehicle.

Possible Driver’s License Sanctions

If a driver’s first DWI offense occurs on a boat it is possible that they may not lose their actual driver’s license. However, if a driver of a boat has qualified prior impaired driving incidents within a ten year period, a BWI will be treated as any other DWI as far as driving revocations are concerned.

Should I Hire a Minnesota BWI Lawyer?

Experience matters with a crime as complex as BWI. Gerald Miller PA has over 35 years of experience helping and guiding people through these frightening and difficult times. Contact Gerald Miller PA today at 612-341-9080 for a free consultation.

For more information see the Minnesota Boating While Impaired Statute 169A.20.


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