Memorial Day is right around the corner, and for a number of Minnesotans, that means that the next few months will involve a fair amount of boating on some of the many lakes or rivers across the state. Just like when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, you need to drive sober when you’re captaining a boat, otherwise you can be arrested and charged with boating while intoxicated. A BWI is very similar to a DWI, but in today’s blog, we take a closer look at the varying degrees of BWI in Minnesota.
BWI Degrees In Minnesota
Here’s a look at the four different types of Boating While Intoxicated charges in Minnesota, why you might face this specific charge, and the potential penalties for each.
1st Degree Boating While Intoxicated
A first degree BWI is the most severe of the charges. It is a felony-level offense and is reserved for those who have three or more BWIs or DWIs on their record within the last 10 years, have a prior first-degree BWI or DWI conviction, or for those who have been convicted of a felony in specific types of vehicular homicide cases. A felony charge can result in up to seven years in prison and fines up to $14,000.
2nd Degree Boating While Intoxicated
You may be charged with a second degree BWI if you have been convicted of two or more BWIs or DWIs within the past 10 years, or if you have one prior BWI or DWI and there is at least one aggravating factor, like having a BAC over 0.16 or passengers under the age of 16 in the boat at the time of your arrest. This is a gross misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000.
3rd Degree Boating While Intoxicated
A third degree boating while intoxicated charge is reserved for an individual with one prior BWI or DWI within the last 10 years, or if an aforementioned aggravating factor is present during the course of your BWI arrest. It too is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000, although community service or a shorter jail sentence is more common.
4th Degree Boating While Intoxicated
A fourth degree BWI charge if for first time offenders with no aggravating factors. This is your run of the mill BWI. It is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
Make some smart decisions on the water this Memorial Day and throughout the summer so that you don’t end up in trouble. If something goes amiss and you need legal help for a BWI, DWI or different criminal charge, we are here to help. Give the team at Appelman Law Firm a call today at (952) 224-2277.