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Although a charge of Boating While Intoxicated may seem different from a traditional Driving While Intoxicated charge, it is charged under the same statute. You not only face the same consequences of a DWI but a BWI conviction can be used to enhance a future DWI. This means that if you have a prior Boating While Intoxicated conviction, then receive a DWI years later, the DWI will be charged as a second offense
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Even more surprising, if you are arrested for a BWI you face the same DPS driver’s license suspension as a person who was arrested for a DWI. If you refused a breath or blood test or provided a sample greater than a .08 you face a statutorily required driver’s license suspension.
IN THIS INSTANCE YOU MUST REQUEST AN ALR HEARING WITHIN 15 DAYS OR YOUR LICENSE WILL BE SUSPENDED.
BWI cases are similar to DWI cases in science and defenses with a few stark differences. As the breath and blood science is the same, it requires us to cross examine the state’s expert witnesses with the same knowledge of breath and blood testing; however, the reason for contact and DWI/BWI standardized field sobriety procedures have two main differences.
In both a DWI and BWI case the officer must first qualify the driver as a candidate for the standardized field sobriety tests. However, in a Boating While Intoxicated case the officer, or game warden, must not only ask qualifying questions to the operator of the boat, but he must also give the person a period of time to shed their sea legs. This waiting period allows the person to acclimate to walking on land after being on a boat.
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