It is not illegal in Missouri to drink while you are fishing or cruising the water, but it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you were arrested on suspicion of BWI (boating while intoxicated), you could face many of the same penalties as driving while intoxicated (DWI). In fact, you should consult a DWI defense lawyer who has experience with BWI cases.

The law firm of Travis Noble, P.C., provides the skilled representation you need if you are accused of operating a watercraft while intoxicated. We handle BWI cases on lakes and rivers in the St. Louis area and throughout Missouri, including the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries.

St. Louis Boating While Intoxicated Attorney

The BWI statutes make it illegal to operate a motorized vessel or a sailboat while intoxicated. The law does not apply to canoes, kayaks or rowboats, but it does apply to personal watercraft (Jet Skis). The penalties are similar to drunk driving (DWI):

  • A first-offense BWI is a class B misdemeanor, with the possibility of jail time and a $500 fine. You must also pass a boater safety course.
  • A second-offense BWI is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • A third conviction for BWI is a class D felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

There are other similarities between BWI and DWI such as a threshold of .08 percent blood alcohol content and the use of breath, blood and urine tests.

Challenging A Drunk Boating Arrest

There are many important differences between drunk driving and boating while intoxicated, and that is where the skill and knowledge of your attorney come into play. Attorney Travis Noble Jr. worked in law enforcement for 10 years before building his successful criminal law practice focused on DWI defense. He adapts his proven defense strategies to the unique circumstances of boating under the influence. For example:

  • Did the Water Patrol officer have probable cause to stop your boat?
  • Were you forced to perform field sobriety tests on a floating, rocking boat?
  • Can they prove you were operating the watercraft?
  • Was the Breathalyzer properly calibrated and administered?
  • If you were arrested at a BWI sobriety checkpoint, was it properly conducted?

Boaters are often pulled over on some other premise such as wake violations, light violations or exceeding the speed limit after sundown. BWI arrests may also stem from investigations of boating accidents. We make the prosecution prove that the stop and the resulting arrest were legitimate.

Contact Our Missouri BWI Lawyer To Protect Your Rights

Travis Noble aggressively challenges the evidence to get BWI charges dismissed or reduced to non-BWI offenses. If you are facing serious jail time for a repeat offense, he is prepared to defend you at trial.

Call us at 314-450-7849 or email our firm to schedule a free consultation.