My DWI Attorney Is Also My BWI Attorney?

Discover How The Same Lawyer That Helps You Fight A DUI Can Help With A Charge Of Boating While Intoxicated

When summer arrives an attorney who defends clients when they get a DUI charge will often work with defendants who are facing a charge of boating while intoxicated. In fact, our firm often works with as many clients that are charged with a BWI as ones that have DUI during those months. The BWI charges often have similar consequences if they result in a conviction as a DWI would.

Get A Lawyer With Experience Defending Clients With BWI Charges

For many, the summer and holidays revolve around activities that have alcohol. When we think of spending time on a boat we will often imagine the wind blowing through our hair, water skiing, and a case of beer in the cooler. We may end our time on the boat in the same state with which we went out on it, but sometimes we may have made the decision to down a number of beers. This is when you might be charged with boating while intoxicated and need the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

What Is The Difference Between Just Floating While Intoxicated Versus Boating While Intoxicated?

Local penal codes say that a watercraft is defined as a device that can transport people on the water in any way other than the current of the water itself. This means that if you’re on any type of aquatic vessel other than an inner tube or simple floating device and you’ve consumed alcohol, you are at risk of being charged with a BWI. One of the big issues with these types of charges is the fact that the police officer often isn’t required by law to have a specific point of suspicion that you are in violation in order to come aboard and check things out.

An Officer May Come Aboard For A “Safety Check” That Is Actually A Ruse

Boaters are beginning to find it routine for officers to come aboard claiming they need to do a safety inspection. In many cases, this is simply a ruse so they have the chance to check over your boat and ask you questions regarding alcohol consumption. The officer may ask you to do some basic tests and then they may ask that you take your boat ashore. Once you’re back on land they will give you a few minutes to be acclimated to being on land and then they will perform a more thorough roadside test to determine sobriety similar to the ones they give when you are suspected of driving intoxicated.

You may have been on the water for several hours fishing or joyriding and yet the officer will only allow you a few minutes to reacclimate to being on land. This may mean for some, that their balance has not fully been regained and this could give the officer sufficient reasons for further tests to determine if they consumed alcohol.

Implied Consent And Boating While Intoxicated

The law allows for implied consent with a BWI just as it does with a DWI. This means that the police officer will be able to ask you to take a breathalyzer and the choice to comply or not could have significant consequences. If you choose not to take the breathalyzer then you could lose your license for 180 days. If you take the breathalyzer and register over .08 then you could lose your license for 3 months.

How A BWI Can Impact Your Commercial Driver’s License

If you take the breath test and you register over .08 or if you refuse to take an alcohol test then your CDL will be suspended for 12 months. That could cost you your job simply for drinking a bit too much while fishing. You are given 2 weeks to request a hearing if you’ve been arrested on this charge. The hearing is called an Administrative License Revocation Hearing and is for the purpose of giving you a chance to save your commercial license. If you can get the right lawyer to go with you to this hearing you stand a good chance of saving your license.

What Are The Penalties For A Conviction Of BWI?

If this is the first time you’ve received this type of charge then it will be a class B misdemeanor. You could get anywhere from three days to six months in jail if convicted. You could also get a $2,000 fine.

This charge can also be used to increase the punishment you would receive if you got any future charges of BWI or DWI. If you’ve already received this type of charge previously then if convicted your punishment could be more substantial. In some cases, the misdemeanor could be upgraded to a felony charge.

Give Jim a call today and let him give you a free consultation so that you can get the help that you need. You can contact Jim for your free consultation!