Memorial Day weekend begins the boating season throughout the United States. Enjoying warmer weather with friends and family on beautiful waterways combined with drinking alcohol is an American pastime. It is not illegal in most states to consume alcohol while driving a boat. Boaters need to be responsible to ensure that their Memorial Day cheer does not put a dent in their career. Law enforcement announced increased BWI and BUI enforcement nationwide. Law enforcement stop boaters for water safety checks without needing a legal justification for stopping a boater. If officers smell alcohol on the boat driver’s breath, officers then shift their investigation to determining whether the boater is intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol.
How is BWI BUI Enforced?
The tools officers use to investigate if a person is boating while intoxicated, or boating under the influence, are called seated sobriety exercises, or seated float tests. More detailed information about these seated float tests are located at https://www.nacdl.org/Champion.aspx?id=38207&terms=bwi. Boaters also need to be aware that law enforcement generally maintain a greater presence near marinas and harbors. Thus, boaters have a greater likelihood of being stopped for a water safety check near marinas, boat launches and harbors. Law enforcement do not need a legal reasons to randomly stop boaters and conduct water safety checks on boats coming into the marina.
Stopped for BUI/BWI, What Do I Do?
If you or a friend is stopped for BWI or BUI, all persons on the boat need to be polite. Law enforcement have a difficult job to do. If someone on the boat is not professional, it will not be well received by law enforcement. Further, it will not reflect well on the driver of the boat who is the focus of law enforcement. Most officers have body cameras that audio and video record the encounter. Being polite and respectful also demonstrates sobriety. Boaters should focus and listen carefully to the instructions the officers provide them. Being able to mentally retain the instructions and physically perform the seated sobriety tests can be the difference between being released or being arrested.
Arrested for BUI/BWI, What Do I Do Now?
If you or a friend needs assistance in dealing with a BWI or BUI arrest this Memorial Day weekend, you should immediately speak with a board certified DUI/DWI lawyer (https://ncdd.com/board-certified-members)who know the ins and outs of BWI BUI law enforcement. A board certified DUI/DWI lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and a dismissal or reduction of a BWI BUI charge.