Operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws aren’t limited to just driving a motor vehicle—even boating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs could result in a criminal charge. If you were recently arrested for boating and drinking, you should know that fighting your charge is still possible. There are a number of defense strategies exclusive to boating under the influence that could be applied to your case.
Alcohol is known to delay reaction time and judgment; however, when alcohol is combined with the motion and vibration of the boat—as well as with the bright sun—these effects are intensified. Boating can also affect the inner ear balance, which could compromise your ability to safely navigate the watercraft.
Of course, it’s the conditions of boating that could also make performing field sobriety tests more difficult if you are stopped by a law enforcement official on suspicion of boating under the influence. Even if the officer allows you to perform tests, such as the walk and turn or one-leg stand, on land, your coordination may still be impacted by your time on the water. An OWI defense attorney could use this to challenge the results of your field sobriety tests.
The punishment for boating under the influence is based on the number of prior convictions on your criminal record. For a first offense, you may be sentenced to fines, an alcohol assessment, and a driver’s license suspension. However, the penalties for each subsequent will increase. This means that you could face higher fines, a longer suspension, and even time behind bars.
What many people fail to take into account is that the penalties for OWI-related offenses last long after the criminal sentence has been served. With a boating under the influence conviction on your record, you could have problems when applying for employment or a professional license or even leaving the country on business or leisure.
The evidence in a boating while intoxicated case is not always accurate. At Tracey Wood & Associates, our legal team goes beyond the police report to uncover the facts that are beneficial to your defense. To learn how we can fight your charge, please complete our online form now to schedule a case analysis.