Defense for Boating While Intoxicated in Arkansas
You may already know that DWI is a serious charge, but boating while intoxicated, or BWI, can also carry heavy consequences. Since boating is primarily done on calm waters for fun and relaxation, many may not consider that they can get in trouble for drinking while operating their boat or watercraft. If you or someone you know has been arrested for BWI, don’t hesitate to call the law offices of Jacob Denson. Our experienced BWI attorneys have helped numerous clients fight the charges in Jacksonville, Sherwood, Little Rock, and surrounding parts of Pulaski County.
What Arkansas Law Says About BWIs
State law declares that it is prohibited to operate or be in physical control of a motorboat, jet skis, or any other watercraft or machinery while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other controlled substance. This is because the effects of these substances can affect your balance, vision, coordination, and judgment in a way that could lead to potentially fatal boating accidents.
You can be convicted of BWI (boating while intoxicated) or BUI (boating under the influence) if you:
- Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08% or higher
- Are impaired by alcohol or any other controlled substance to such a degree that your reactions, motor skills, and judgment are substantially altered and you present a clear danger of physical injury or death to yourself or others.
What are the Penalties for BWI in Arkansas?
Noted as an “unclassified” misdemeanor, the severity of the consequences of BWI in the state varies depending on the circumstances.
The penalties are as follows:
- First offense
- One day to one year in jail; $100 to $1000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for six months. If the convicted offender had a passenger under 16 on the boat, they are given a minimum of seven days in jail. The judge can order public service in replacement of jail time at their discretion.
- Second offense
- Seven days to one year in jail; $400 to $3,000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for 24 months. If there was a passenger under the age of 16 on the boat, the convicted boater will have to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail. The judge can order a minimum of 30 days of public service instead of jail time.
- Third offense
- 90 days to one year in jail; $900 to $5,000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for 30 months. If there was a passenger under 16 on the boat, the minimum jail time is 120 days. The judge can order 90 days minimum of public service instead of jail.
Legal Defense Strategies Against BWI Charges
Our team knows the law well and understands that there can be circumstances where the arrest may not have been conducted fairly or properly. Law enforcement that patrol waterways can stop a boat if they feel that the boat is being operated dangerously but can also do so without probable cause. They can perform a field sobriety test, but it can be inaccurate or yield a false positive.
At Jacob Denson, we will explore every angle to come up with the strongest legal defense. With our diligent work, we will pursue the best possible outcome for your case or minimize the penalties as much as possible.