DUI Laws Apply To Boating, Too

Here in Minnesota, summers spent on a lake are an intrinsic part of our local culture. All too often, however, these weekend getaways result in boating while intoxicated charges for those accused of drinking too much while behind the wheel of a boat.

The attorneys at Coodin & Overson, PLLP, have extensive experience representing Minnesota residents who have been accused of BWI. We take a personal approach to the law, working closely with you to develop a defense strategy that is hand-tailored to fit your unique situation. In every case, we push aggressively to help our clients achieve the most favorable possible results.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Paul criminal defense attorneys.

The Importance of a Strong Defense

Minnesota laws regarding drinking while boating strike many as unfair. You can generally be arrested for BWI whenever your boat is in operation and not anchored, beached, moored or docked. The laws regarding probable cause are more lax and less established than for DWI - an officer can stop your boat for any perceived safety or security problems.

Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes, which means many of us have boats. However, DWI/DUI laws apply to the operation of any motor vehicle, not just cars, trucks or motorcycles. People typically like to enjoy a little drinking with friends and family on their boats. If an individual operates a boat with an alcohol concentration above .08, he or she may be charged with boating while intoxicated under Minnesota law.

Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is the act of operating under the influence any motorized craft that carries a person over water, which can include motor boats and Jet Skis. If the boat has any kind of motor at all, it falls under the jurisdiction of the BWI/BUI law.

Law enforcement officers may board your craft for safety and security reasons. If they smell alcohol on your breath or see that people on the boat have been consuming alcohol they may investigate. While it is not illegal to consume alcohol on a boat, you can be arrested for boating while intoxicated (BWI) if you fail a breath test.

Penalties for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol can be just as steep as drunk driving.

It is important to remember that if an individual charged with a BWI has no qualified prior impaired driving incidents, he or she is subject only to the loss of operating privileges for his or her boat for the relevant period of suspension. His or her driver's license for operating a car remains valid. However, a conviction goes on your record — and if you already have a DWI conviction or you are later arrested for DWI, you can lose your driver's license as well as your boating license. These cases are extremely serious, and you need a strong and effective defense effort to protect your rights.

Free Consultation With BWI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for boating while intoxicated, it is important that you take action to protect your rights and your freedom. Contact Coodin & Overson, PLLP, online or call 651-319-5180 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.