Missouri Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Penalties

Learn about the consequences of boating under the influence (BUI) in Missouri.

Missouri law prohibits operating a vessel while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. However, there are two types of boating while intoxicated (BWI) that carry different penalties:

  • Impairment BWI. The prosecution proves an impairment BWI by showing that the boater was actually impaired by the drugs or alcohol ingested.
  • Per se BWI. A per se BWI is based on the boater’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The offense—which is also called “boating with an excessive blood alcohol concentration”—is defined as operating a vessel with a BAC of .08% or greater.

(Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 577.013, 577.014 (2017); State v. Honsinger, 386 S.W.3d 827 (2012).)

Offender Classifications: Priors, Injuries, and Deaths

Missouri BWI penalties also depend on whether the boater has prior convictions and whether the current offense or any of the priors involved injuries or fatalities. Based on these factors, a BWI offender will be classified as:

  • a standard first offender
  • a prior boating offender
  • a persistent boating offender
  • an aggravated boating offender
  • a chronic boating offender, or
  • a habitual boating offender.

So, the type (standard or per se) and the classification (first, prior, persistent, aggravated, chronic, or habitual) of BWI, together, determine the possible consequences of a conviction. (Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 577.001, 577.013, 577.014 (2017).)

(Our Missouri BWI law article goes over these classifications in detail.)

Missouri BWI Penalties

Missouri crimes are divided into classes of misdemeanors (A through C) and felonies (A through E). Here’s how BWIs are categorized and punished.

Misdemeanor BWIs

  • Class B misdemeanor. Punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 in fines. 
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction.
  • Class A misdemeanor. Punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 in fines. 
    • Prior boating offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction. 
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where a person less than 17 years of was a passenger in the vessel.

Felony BWIs

 

  • Class E felony. Punishable by up to four years in prison and a maximum $10,000 in fines.
    • Persistent boating offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes injury to another person.
  • Class D felony. Punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum $10,000 in fines.
    • Aggravated boating offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes injury to a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes serious injury to another person.
  • Class C felony. Punishable by three to ten years in prison and a maximum $10,000 in fines.
    • Chronic boating offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes serious injury to a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes death to another person.
  • Class B felony. Punishable by five to 15 years in prison and fines that aren’t limited to a certain maximum amount.
    • Habitual boating offenders with an impairment or a per se BWI conviction.
    • Standard first offenders with an impairment BWI conviction, where the boat operator acts with criminal negligence and causes death to a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel.
  • Class A felony. Punishable by ten years to life in prison and fines that aren’t limited to a certain maximum amount.
    • Habitual boating offenders with an impairment BWI conviction who have been convicted previously as a habitual boating offender.

Depending on the circumstances, a judge might also require a BWI offender to participate in continuous alcohol monitoring and substance abuse treatment. And minimum jail times apply to certain BWI offenders who had high blood alcohol concentrations. (Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 558.002, 558.011, 577.013, 577.014 (2017).)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The consequences of boating under the influence in Missouri are serious, and the facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for a BWI, get in touch with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified BWI attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more

Talk to a Lawyer

Want to talk to an attorney? Start here.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Connect with local attorneys
NOLODRUPAL-web3:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205