BWI (Boating While Impaired)

summer boating

Over the summer, one of the most common charges is a BWI or boating while impaired.

One of the most common questions from clients about this charge is, should I blow if I am asked to provide a breath sample? Whether it’s a municipal police officer or an officer from the Department of Wildlife Management, they will often ask you to submit to some kind of breath testing device, either the preliminary breath testing device, or on the larger ECIR-II at a jail or police station. When charged with a BWI, there are no ramifications to your driver’s license. So, while the state may still try and use your refusal as evidence of your guilt, the DMV will not take any actions on your driver’s license. Therefore, the decision of whether to blow in a BWI situation is far simpler than when charged with a DWI. In a situation where you are facing charges of BWI and are offered a chance to provide a breath sample, regardless of which machine they seek to use, you should politely refuse.

North Carolina General Statute 75A-10:

Under North Carolina law, you can be found guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor if you are found to have operated any vessel while underway on the waters of this State either (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 0.08 or more.

Impairing Substance:

An impairing substance can be broadly defined to include the following substances:

  1. Alcohol
  2. A controlled substance under Chapter 90;
    1. A controlled substance can be defined as any drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in schedules I through VI of Chapter 90.
  3. Any drug or psychoactive substance capable of impairing a person’s physical or mental faculties
  4. Any combination of substances above.

Being charged with boating while impaired can have permanent consequences. If you’ve been charged with BWI, it’s critical that you reach out to an experienced criminal lawyer in Charlotte, NC. The Jetton and Meredith Criminal Defense Team has helped thousands through this stressful time. Don’t wait, call us now – 704.333.1114.