Boating While Intoxicated
In years past Boating While Intoxicated was not a criminal offense and was rarely punishable through other criminal offenses. However, just as with the ever increasing penalties and broadened application of dui laws in Indiana to include alcohol and drug offenses whether due to imparment or not, the long arm of dui sanctions have now been targeting those accused of Operating a Boat While Intoxicated.
Penalties for BWI are identical to those of DUI alleged to have been commited by use of an automobile. However, although the penalties and application of dui laws have now encompassed boating activities in Indiana, legal defenses available to boaters can often be far more expansive than those available within a conventional dui case arising through the use of an automobile.
Due to the nature of boating activity with an investigation usually occuring on water, effective and credible results from field sobriety testing can be hard to obtain. One of the standard pre conditions of valid Field Sobriety Test results as governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) is the foundational requirement that credible test results be obtained from the test subject performing such testing on a level surface. In fact, due to the inherent difficulties in administerting such testing on water as well as the immediacy of interaction while on water potentially far from shore, it is not uncommon for field sobriety testing not to be undertaken at all. This is usually the case due to the time limitations for an investigating officer to take a boat to shore and have the investigated suspect transported to a location where certified breath testing equipment is available within a required three hour time frame.
Further, it is most often the case that those initiating BWI arrests are not law enforcement officers with a high volume track record of conducting such arrests. Most frequently, such individuals will be conservation officers who present the strong likelihood of not being certified to administer admissible breath test results much less trained in the art of field sobriety testing.
For the foregoing reasons the likelihood exists that working together we can pro actively challenge the circumstances of a BWI prosecution and minimize criminal penalty despite such cases being treated the same as a conventional dui commited by use of an automobile.