Do you know your boat can be stopped at any time?
Boaters in North Carolina can be charged with boating while impaired if they are under the influence of an impairing substance (including marijuana) or have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more while operating any watercraft, including water-skis, jet skis, motor boats, canoes, rowboats and sailboats.
If it floats and you are in control of it, you can be charged!
Depending on where you are, an officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, Gaston County Police, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, or the Sheriff’s Office can stop a boat driver for a safety check at any time. Unlike a DWI case involving a car, the officer does not need “reasonable suspicion” to stop a boat.
Boating While Impaired is a serious criminal offense
A BWI is a class 2 misdemeanor and there it is a crime. While such a charge does not have the same impact on your driver’s license, like suspension or revocation, a conviction for boating while impaired may still affect other aspects of your life, such as your criminal record, credit, insurance rates and even employment prospects. A BWI conviction is also public record – employers, neighbors, friends, creditors and insurers can all see your criminal record.
Defenses to your BWI charge
Unlike a drunk driving offense, the laws regarding boating while impaired does not give the Intoxilyzer, Intox EC/IR-II or other test the same weight and benefit. Therefore, a .08 BAC reading can be attacked and possibly disregarded by the judge. This increases the chance of a dismissal of the case.
The Field Sobriety Tests performed during a BWI investigation also differ from those performed in the more familiar DWI cases. BWI investigations involve such tests as palm pat, finger dexterity, alphabet, counting etc. As such, they may not be given the same weight and credibility by a judge since their scientific basis is not as familiar.
Contact our office today to learn more 704-671-2390.
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