Fighting The Boating While Impaired (BWI) Charges You Are Facing
There is nothing like the simple joy of a day on one of the many lakes in Greensboro. While enjoying boating and other water sports, alcohol may at times play a role in these activities. Under Greensboro law, operating a vessel such as a boat under the influence of an impairing substance with a BAC of .08 or more is illegal.
North Carolina General Statue § 75A-10 says the following about BWI in the relevant section:
§ 75A‑10 Operating vessel or manipulating water skis, etc., in reckless manner; operating, etc., while intoxicated, etc.; depositing or discharging litter, etc.
(b1) No person shall operate any vessel while underway on the waters of this state:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance, or
(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that the person has, at any relevant time after the boating, an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
The Difference Between BWI And DWI
While BWI is similar to driving while intoxicated (DWI) in many ways, having an attorney with knowledge to differentiate the two is imperative to your case. An officer (usually Wildlife Law Enforcement) can stop your boat for almost any reason. Unlike DWI, there does not have to be a reasonable, articulable suspicion for them to pull up to your boat and board your vessel. For example, the wildlife officer can simply ask to see if you are carrying the proper safety equipment (fire extinguishers, life jackets, et cetera) in order to gain access.
What To Do Once An Officer Is On Board
Once access is granted, many times the smell of a substance alone can be sufficient for an officer to inquire about whether you are impaired. At this stage, having the right lawyer makes all the difference. Some lawyers mistakenly treat this as just a DWI on a boat, which can lead to a poor defense. An experienced BWI lawyer will know the differences between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the additional tests that many officers use when investigating BWI offenses.
BWI is a class 2 misdemeanor and will not currently affect your motor vehicle driver’s license. However, a conviction for a BWI in Greensboro is still a serious offense.
Get Started Today With An Aggressive Defense
Hiring the right lawyer for your BWI case is an important decision that should be taken seriously. At The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, our extensive experience in representing BWI clients in Greensboro will greatly help your case as we fight to defend you. Call the firm today at 336-992-3600 or send an email to schedule a free consultation.