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A boating while impaired conviction becomes a public record

With the advent of warmer weather, thoughts turn to the pleasure of boating. Some people feel that out on the water there is more freedom for activities like having a few beers.

However, boating while impaired is a serious offense, and a BWI conviction will become part of your criminal record for anyone to see.

The effects of alcohol

If you drink alcohol while you are boating, you are likely to become intoxicated more quickly than you would on land. This is because the motion of the boat, vibration and engine noise along with the marine environment of sun, wind and water spray become stressors that cause fatigue, and fatigue affects your judgment, coordination and reaction time. Your cognitive abilities deteriorate, you will experience a decrease in depth perception and have balance issues. Too much alcohol will also affect your inner ear, which would be especially problematic if you should fall overboard because you might not be able to recognize up from down.

Boating laws

The United States Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing a federal law that prohibits boating while intoxicated. It is a law that applies to every kind of boat, from a canoe to a cruise ship. Locally, BWI is a class 2 misdemeanor. A police officer, someone from the sheriff’s office or a representative from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission may stop your boat at any time, for any reason. They are not required to have “reasonable suspicion” that you are operating your boat while impaired.

Affecting your life

Remember that because of the internet, your criminal record is no secret. If you have a BWI conviction, anyone from a family friend to a potential employer or landlord will be able to see it, which may have a negative effect on your plans for the future. The best course of action is never to drink and operate a boat, but if you are facing a potential BWI charge, legal options are available.  




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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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