• Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)


    Boating while intoxicated, or BWI, is the act of operating a boat or other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person who operates a jet ski, motor boat, or any other vehicle on the water, while being under the influence of a substance that impairs them can be charged with BWI. The law does not cover rowboats and canoes since paddles rather than a motor propels these boats.

    If you have been charged with BWI, it is your right to speak with a qualified St. Paul DWI attorney as soon as possible. By consulting with your attorney at, or soon after the time of the arrest, you can ensure your rights are not violated and that you receive the advice that you need. From there, work immediately begins on your case so you can receive the best possible result.


    What many people do not immediately realize, is that DWI laws apply in BWI cases. Due to the fact that alcohol is frequently used during boating activities, the waterways are patrolled and law enforcement is heavy on the lakes throughout the state. Even if there is not a police boat in sight, you can still be cited for BWI if you are seen behind the wheel of a boat. If there is any suspicion that you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, authorities can board the boat and check to see if you are intoxicated.


    While law enforcement is on the boat and they believe they smell alcohol on you or they see others drinking, they have probable cause to see if you are intoxicated. While you have not done anything illegal, it is all about them having reason to check to see if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above.

    In regards to the consequences of BWI, they can be just as steep as regular DWI. If convicted, the fines can be up to $7,500 and sometimes even higher. The jail time can also be up to two years. The driver will have their boat license suspended for a period of one year. If boating without a license, any waterway authority can detain you.

    Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that you do not have to accept the charges against you. Your Minneapolis DWI attorney will fight for you because there are times when the charges are exaggerated or they were not warranted at all. Unfair BWI arrests happen frequently, so it is important for you to fight.