Iowa's Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Laws and Penalties

Read about the consequences of boating while intoxicated (BWI) in Iowa.

By , Attorney

In Iowa, boating while under the influence is illegal and can lead to serious consequences. In this article, we explained Iowa's boating while intoxicated (BWI) law and the penalties you'll face for a conviction.

Iowa's Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Law

Iowa law prohibits operating a motorboat or sailboat while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating while intoxicated for operating a watercraft while:

Iowa's OWI Laws similarly make it illegal to drive a car while impaired, with a certain amount of alcohol, or with any amount of a controlled substance in your system.

Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) in Iowa

The consequences of an Iowa BWI depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, the consequences include fines, suspension of boat operating privileges, and possible jail time.

Iowa's First-Offense Boating While Intoxicated Penalties

A first BWI is a "serious misdemeanor" and generally carries 48 hours to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. First offenders also face a one-year suspension of their boat operating privileges.

Iowa's Second-Offense Boating While Intoxicated Penalties

Where a BWI offender has a prior BWI conviction that occurred within 12 years of the current violation, the second offense will be an "aggravated misdemeanor" and generally carries at least seven days in jail and $1,000 to $5,000 in fines. Second offenders also face a two-year suspension of their boat operating privileges.

Iowa's Third-Offense Boating While Intoxicated Penalties

Where a BUI offender has at least two prior BWI convictions that occurred within 12 years of the current violation, the third or subsequent offense will be a class D felony and generally carries 30 days to one year in jail and $2,000 to $7,000 in fines. Third offenders also face a six-year suspension of their boat operating privileges.

Iowa's BWI Penalties for Offenses Involving Injuries

A BWI involving serious injury to another person is a class D felony and generally carries 30 days to five years in jail, $2,500 to $7,000 in fines, and a one-year suspension of boat operating privileges.

Iowa's BWI Penalties for Offenses Involving Deaths

A BWI involving death to another person is a class B felony and generally carries up to 25 years in prison and a six-year suspension of boat operating privileges.

Iowa's Substance Abuse Evaluation Requirement for All BWI Offenders

Judges are generally required to refer all BWI offenders for substance abuse evaluation and treatment. In some cases, a judge can order an offender to complete a program in a treatment facility in lieu of jail time.

Talk to an Iowa DUI/BWI Attorney

If you've been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Iowa, get in contact with an experienced DUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good DUI attorney should be able to explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best course of action.

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