Defending Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Charges in New York State: Strategies and Considerations
Aggravated DWI is a more serious charge than a regular DWI in New York State. It is defined as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18% or higher. The legal limit for drivers 21 years of age and older is 0.08%. So, an aggravated DWI charge means that the driver was twice over the legal limit.
The penalties for a first offense aggravated DWI in New York State are:
- A fine of $1,000 to $2,500
- A mandatory one-year driver’s license revocation
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least one year
- Up to one year in jail
The penalties increase for subsequent aggravated DWI offenses. For example, a second aggravated DWI offense within 10 years is a Class E felony, which carries a possible sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
There are other factors that can aggravate a DWI charge in New York State, such as:
- Driving with a child under the age of 15 in the car
- Causing an accident while driving drunk
- Driving with a BAC of 0.25% or higher
- Refusing to take a chemical test
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about aggravated DWI in New York State:
- The prosecution must prove that your BAC was 0.18% or higher beyond a reasonable doubt.
- You have the right to refuse a chemical test, but if you do, your driver’s license will be automatically revoked for one year.
- You can be charged with aggravated DWI even if you are not visibly impaired.
Penalties for a Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Charge in New York State
The penalties for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) charges in New York State (NYS) can vary depending on factors such as the level of impairment, prior convictions, and the circumstances of the offense. While my knowledge is current as of January 2022, it’s essential to check the most recent laws and regulations for any updates to penalties. Here’s an overview of the potential penalties associated with BWI charges in NYS:
- Fines: BWI convictions can result in fines, which can vary in amount. The specific fines may depend on factors such as prior BWI convictions and the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
- License Suspension: A BWI conviction typically leads to the suspension of the boater’s operating privileges. The length of the suspension can vary, and it may be more severe for repeat offenders.
- Probation: In some cases, individuals convicted of BWI may be placed on probation. Probation involves regular check-ins with a probation officer and adherence to specific conditions.
- Mandatory Alcohol Education Programs: Courts may require individuals convicted of BWI to complete mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs. These programs aim to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and may be a condition of probation.
- Ignition Interlock Device: For repeat BWI offenders, the court may require the installation of an ignition interlock device on their boats. This device measures the operator’s sobriety before allowing the boat to start.
- Community Service: Courts can impose community service as part of the penalties for BWI convictions. The number of community service hours may vary based on the case.
- Criminal Record: A BWI conviction results in a criminal record, which may have long-term consequences, such as difficulties with future employment and travel.
- Increased Insurance Costs: Just like DUI or DWI convictions for driving, BWI convictions can lead to increased insurance premiums for boat owners.
It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional if you’re facing BWI charges, as they can provide guidance on the specific penalties that may apply to your case and explore potential defense strategies. Additionally, the penalties mentioned here are subject to change based on updates to New York state laws and regulations, so it’s advisable to verify the most current information from a reliable source or legal expert.
Building a Robust Defense Strategy
Evaluating the Traffic Stop: The foundation of any BWI defense begins with a thorough examination of the traffic stop. Was there probable cause to initiate the stop? Were the proper procedures followed by law enforcement? Any violations of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights can significantly impact the case’s validity.
Challenging Sobriety Tests: BWI cases often involve field sobriety tests, which can be subjective and prone to human error. Our experienced attorneys meticulously scrutinize the administration of these tests to identify any inconsistencies or improper procedures that could undermine their reliability.
Questioning Chemical Tests: Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers, urine or blood tests, are crucial pieces of evidence in BWI cases. However, these tests are not infallible. Our legal team will investigate whether the testing equipment was properly calibrated, maintained, and operated by certified personnel. If there are discrepancies, the validity of the test results can be called into question.
Medical Conditions and Prescription Medications: Some medical conditions and prescription medications can lead to impaired driving without the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Our defense strategy explores the possibility of a medical condition or medication affecting the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Constructing Alternative Explanations: We work closely with our clients to gather detailed accounts of the events leading up to their BWI charge. By understanding the context and circumstances, we can build alternative explanations for their behavior that may not necessarily point to impairment.
Our legal team is well-versed in the nuanced laws of New York State, including its Boating While Intoxicated statutes and sentencing guidelines. Depending on the specifics of the case, we can pursue various legal avenues:
Negotiating Reductions: Through skillful negotiation, we aim to secure reductions in charges or penalties, such as obtaining a plea deal to a lesser offense or pursuing enrollment in a substance abuse education program.
Challenging Evidence in Court: If necessary, we are prepared to take the case to trial. Our experienced litigators will present a strong defense, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge evidence in court to achieve the best possible outcome.
Protecting Driving Privileges: BWI convictions can result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. We will advocate for our clients to retain their driving rights whenever possible.
Facing a Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) charge in New York State can be a daunting experience, but the DWI Team is dedicated to providing unwavering support and exceptional legal representation. Our extensive knowledge of the legal landscape, combined with our commitment to protecting clients’ rights, empowers us to construct robust defense strategies tailored to each unique case. From dissecting the traffic stop to challenging sobriety tests and negotiating favorable outcomes, we stand as the shield against BWI charges, advocating for the best interests of our clients at every turn.