Minnesota not only makes it illegal to drive a car while intoxicated but also to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This article explains Minnesota's boating while intoxicated (BWI) and the penalties you'll face for a BWI conviction.
Minnesota law prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of a motorboat while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating while intoxicated(also called "boating under the influence") for operating a motorboat while:
In other words, you can get a BWI for operating a boat with an excessive blood alcohol concentration or while drunk or high on drugs.
In Minnesota, there are four degrees of BWI. Each type of BWI carries different penalties.
A BWI offender can be convicted of first-degree boating while intoxicated if the person has:
A first-degree BWI is a felony and generally carries up to $14,000 in fines and three to seven years in prison.
A BWI offender can be convicted of second-degree boating while intoxicated if the person:
A second-degree BWI is a "gross misdemeanor" and generally carries 90 days to one year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines.
A BWI offender can be convicted of third-degree boating while intoxicated if the person:
A third-degree BWI is a gross misdemeanor and generally carries up to $3,000 in fines and either 48 hours to one year in jail or at least 80 hours of community service.
A standard first offense is a fourth-degree BWI, a misdemeanor. Convicted boaters typically face up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
All boaters convicted of a BWI will have their boating privileges suspended for at least 90 days. The period of suspension must be between May 1 and Oct 31 and can span two consecutive years.
The consequences of a Minnesota BWI are serious, and the facts of every case are different. If you've been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with an experienced BWI lawyer. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.