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Defending Buffalo and Western New York Drivers

Buffalo NY DWI and Traffic Attorney

Call Patrick McLaughlin Esq. at
(716)-536-0589
for a FREE initial consultation.

New York State Drug and Alcohol-Related
Boating Violations

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, roughly half of all boating fatalities involve alcohol. Just like driving a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol in New York State. An operator with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated. In New York, if you are stopped for the suspicion of impaired operation and refuse to voluntarily submit to a breath test, your privilege to operate may be immediately suspended, pending a hearing. Penalties for boating under the influence include large fines, possible jail time, increases to your insurance, and the suspension of operator privileges. Anyone facing a charge of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs should consult with a New York criminal defense attorney experienced in defending similar cases.

Being arrested for Boating While Intoxicated is very similar to an arrest in a Driving While Intoxicated case. A defendant's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level will be determined through one of three methods. The most common of these methods involves analyzing the defendant's breath. In this instance, the police use Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s) before making an arrest, and they use the same equipment in taking the chemical test. However, the validity of the SFST's in a marine environment are questionable at best, and often lead to false positive results. Other tests examine the defendant's blood or urine. Refinements in the methods by which a defendant's BAC is determined have strengthened the ability of prosecutors to prove this BAC. However, these tests are not above reproach, and skilled defense attorneys can often successfully attack the methods by which the defendant's BAC was analyzed. The stiff consequences and future consequences of BWI convictions make it imperative that the person arrested for this crime obtain a skilled and knowledgeable DWI/ BWI trial lawyer such as attorney Patrick McLaughlin.

BOATING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED (BWAI) Section 49-a (2)

This applies when the blood alcohol content or BAC, is 0.07. If the BAC is 0.06, that might be impaired - but might not. And, while many people think otherwise, 0.05 is not impaired under § 49-a(10)(b)(1).

Violation Mandatory Fines Penalties
Violation Operating a vessel
while impaired.
$300- $500 Up to a 15 days in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel
suspension 6-12 months.
Second Violation Operating a vessel while impaired. $500 - $750 Up to 30 days in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel
suspension 6-12 months.
Third Violation Operating
a vessel while impaired
MISDEMEANOR.
$750 - $1500 Up to 180 days in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel suspension 6-12 months.

BOATING WHILE INTOXICATED (BWI).

This applies when the BAC is 0.08 or higher and may also apply in other situations, such as when the defendant refuses a breath or blood test.

Violation Mandatory Fines Penalties
First Violation/ Operating
a vessel while intoxicated
Misdemeanor
$500 - $1000 Up to one year in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel
suspension 12 months.
Second Violation/ Operating
a vessel while intoxicate
Class E felony.
$1000 - $5000 No more than 1 1/3 to 4 years in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel
suspension 24 months.
Third Violation/ Operating
a vessel while intoxicated
Class D Felony.
$2000 - $10,000 No more than 2 1/3 to 7 years in jail.
Privilege and/or vessel suspension 24 months.

Zero Tolerance

The Zero Tolerance law applies to a person under age 21 who operates a boat or vessel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or more but not more than .07%. In an effort to send a clear message to our young citizens that underage drinking will not be tolerated, New York State has enacted legislation, for those under 21 years of age, providing for the suspension or revocation of operating privileges if caught operating a vessel with a BAC is .02%. The minimum BAC is .02% not zero because certain cough syrups and mouthwashes contain large amounts of ethyl alcohol. New York State Legislature decided to set the standard BAC at .02% in order to address only those young people who had consumed alcohol and operated a boat or vessel.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Offense Procedure
.02% or more but not more than .07% Driving after having consumed
alcohol (a zero tolerance violation)
Administrative Hearing.
More than .05% and less than .08% Driving while ability is impaired by alcohol (DWAI) Criminal Court.
.08% or more Driving While Intoxicated Criminal Court.

DON'T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE LEGAL SYSTEM, CALL A SKILLED ATTORNEY THAT KNOWS HOW TO FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.

Call Attorney Patrick McLaughlin
at DEFENDING WNY DRIVERS
55 Koenig Rd.
Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (716) 536-0589
Fax (716) 832-5680
Email: Patrick McLaughlin