Boating While Intoxicated

Minnesota law prohibits an individual from operating any motorized vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Motorized vehicles include cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and boats.

While the law constituting the offense is the same regardless of the vehicle, the penalties vary. The penalties can impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle, obtain employment, travel outside the United States, loss of vehicle, and could cost you thousands of dollars in fines and fee. Consulting an experienced attorney is often the best way to ensure your rights are protected.

What is Boating While Intoxicated?

Minnesota law considers a person to be boating under the influence if they are:

  • Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, or Under the influence of alcohol while operating a boat, or Under the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) while operating a boat.

Penalties

First time charge is a Misdemeanor level offense, which is subject to a fine up to $1000, loss of boating privileges for a minimum of 90 days and potentially for the remainder of the boating season, and time in jail.

As with DWI/DUI, a BWI charge is enhanceable if any of the following “aggravating factors” exists:

  • A blood alcohol level greater than .20 
  • Presence of a minor under the age of 16 on the boat during the offense 
  • A prior conviction for DWI/BWI in the past 10 years.

The occurrence of any of these factors will result in a greater degree of BWI, such as a gross misdemeanor or felony. The penalties for both of which are significantly increased.

Gross Misdemeanor penalties include:

A fine up to $3000 Up to 1 year in jail Mandatory participation in a treatment program Loss of driving privileges Plate impoundment of all vehicles owned by the defendant Forfeiture of the boat used in the offense

Felony penalties include:

3 to 7 years imprisonment Up to $14,000 in fines Loss of driving privileges for a longer amount of time. 

 

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