Experienced New York Boating While Intoxicated Lawyers
Each year, the state of New York sees a couple of hundred boating accidents and one or two dozen deaths. Although that might not sound like much out of at least half a million boats registered in New York, it has been enough to trigger political action and more rigorous enforcement – since about quarter of these deaths are alcohol-related. Contact our New York Boating While Intoxicated Lawyers.
The 2006 death of Tiffany Heitkamp, due to an intoxicated boater, inspired New York to toughen up its BWI laws. Previously, Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) was treated as an offense less serious than Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Penalties have now been equalized so that BWI is now just as serious an offense as DWI.
Where BWI Arrests Happen
A New York BWI arrest is most likely to happen in and around the waterways that are most popular with boaters, including:
- Lake George
- Lake Placid
- Great Sacandaga Lake
- Schroon Lake
- Mirror Lake
- Tupper Lake
- The Hudson River
- The Mohawk River
- Saratoga Lake.
You can be arrested for BWI on any public waterway, however. If you have been arrested call our New York Boating While Intoxicated Attorneys.
BWI and Related Offenses
New York has established four different offenses that may apply to someone who operates a boat while under the influence of intoxicants:
- Boating While Ability Impaired by alcohol (“alcohol BWAI”): Any impairment at all is illegal.
- Boating While Ability Impaired by drugs (“drug BWAI”): Any impairment at all is illegal.
- Boating While Intoxicated by drugs or alcohol (“drug BWI”, “alcohol BWI”): “Substantial” impairment is required for conviction.
- “Per se BUI”: Boating with a BAC of at least 0.08 percent (0.04 percent for commercial boaters). No impairment needs to be proven for a conviction.
The penalties for operating a boat under the influence of intoxicants in New York are as follows:
- Alcohol BWAI: A fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to 15 days for a first offense, plus loss of your boating license for 6 to 12 months.
- Drug BWAI, alcohol BWAI, drug BWI and per se BUI: A fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year for a first offense, plus loss of your boating license for 12 months. A third offense is a felony.
Penalties for all of the foregoing offenses increase substantially for repeat offenses. Contact our knowledgeable New York Boating While Intoxicated Lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I be arrested for BWI for piloting a non-motorized boat such as a rowboat?
No. BWI and the related offenses mentioned above apply only to boats that are partially or fully motorized. Depending on your behavior, however, you might be arrested for another offense such as reckless endangerment.
What is the 'lookback period' for BWI and related offenses?
The lookback period is how long the court will look back to determine if you are guilty of a second or further offense. The lookback period is five years to convict you of a second offense and ten years to convict you of a third offense.
Will I lose my automobile driver’s license due to a BWI conviction?
No – your boating license will be at risk, not your automobile driver’s license. Although you must note: the New York legislature is currently considering a bill that would change this state of affairs. A BWI could, however, get you convicted of second-offense DWI if you are convicted of DWI in the future, and this could result in a lengthening of the period of your driver’s license suspension.
I was arrested for BWI for the first time, but I have a previous DWI. Will my BWI be treated as a second offense?
It depends on how long ago you were arrested for DWI. The court will consider any DWIs you have been convicted of during the “lookback period.” If you have one previous DWI from three years ago, for example, your BWI will be treated as a second offense. Furthermore, your BWI conviction can be used against you in the same way if you are convicted of DWI in the future.
Don’t Let the Glue of Circumstances Harden around Your Feet
BWI is a crime in New York, and the consequences of a conviction can extend far beyond the surface of the water. You need assistance now. Missing a deadline in a criminal prosecution or responding in a weak fashion is downright dangerous. The New York criminal justice system is set up for combat, and it rewards those who skillfully fight for their rights
At E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, you can expect to be treated with respect, integrity, and exceptional professionalism. If you have been arrested or charged with BWI, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation by phone with at our office in Albany, Troy, Latham, Saratoga, or even in jail with our New York Boating While Intoxicated Lawyers.