A Minneapolis DWI Attorney Explains Boating DWI Charges

When many of us hear the term DWI, it’s common to have a mental image of someone erratically driving a vehicle on a roadway. A charge of driving while intoxicated, however, is not limited to operating a vehicle on a road. A DWI charge can also occur while boating in one of Minnesota’s waterways as well.

How Does Someone End Up with a Boating DWI Charge?

Since open container laws do not apply to boating in Minnesota’s waterways, it is possible that a boater could have enjoyed an alcoholic beverage earlier in the day and have a BAC beneath the legal definition of a DWI. A DWI charge is likely to be filed when there is erratic handling of a boat, or a boating accident occurs, and draws the attention of the authorities. Other charges are also possible, especially if someone is seriously injured in the accident. 

What Must Be Proved for a Conviction of Boating DWI?

In Minnesota, the prosecution will need to prove the following two elements of the case in order to earn a conviction for boating DWI:

1. A BAC of .08 or higher within two hours of the arrest.

2. Operation of a boat.

Other Charges That Can Occur with a Boating DWI

An example of additional charges that can be filed during an investigation of boating DWI was recently reported in the Duluth News Tribune after a woman was thrown from a boat during an accident. The driver was later arrested for suspicion of boating while intoxicated, with an additional charge of criminal vehicular homicide being filed against the defendant at a later date. 

How an Attorney Can Help Those Charged with a Boating DWI

If you’ve been charged with a boating DWI, a Minneapolis DWI Attorney can help you to navigate the court proceedings that you will face and help you to prepare and mount a defense to the charges. There are several defenses that can potentially alter whether or not a defendant is found guilty of a boating DWI.

  • Sometimes BAC evidence can be challenged, particularly if it cannot be shown that the breathalyzer or other BAC equipment underwent proper maintenance and calibration.
  • Unusual administration of the test can also provide an avenue for defense. 
  • Circumstances specific to the case provide additional evidence or reveal mitigating factors that can affect the outcome at trial.

Boating DWI Penalties

A boating DWI conviction carries similar penalties as a DWI that occurred on a roadway. Prior convictions on either waterways or roadways can affect the severity of charges that one faces with a boating DWI. Fees, fines, potential jail time, suspension and revocation of license, and increased insurance rates can all result from just a single boating DWI conviction.

Skilled legal representation can help defendants charged with boating DWI and additional charges related to the boating DWI, such as manslaughter or homicide. 

Have you been involved in a boating accident, or an incident on a roadway, that resulted in a DWI or additional charges? Contact us today to speak with an experienced trial attorney that is knowledgeable about your rights under Minnesota law.