Boating While Intoxicated

East End BWI Defense Attorneys

Since 2003, New York's Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) laws, New York Navigation Law Section 49-a, makes operating a navigable vessel with .08 percent or more blood alcohol content a misdemeanor with a sentence of up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine. A second conviction within 10 years becomes a Class E felony, carrying up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If a boater is convicted of BWI as a first-time offender under the Navigation Law, his privilege to operate a vessel is suspended for six months, and his driver's license is in jeopardy, too. If the operator is under 21 years of age or has a previous BWI conviction, the suspension lasts for a year. Even worse, a BWI conviction can cause your auto insurance rates to skyrocket, just as a DWI conviction will, along with your boater's insurance.

If you are caught Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) or Boating Under the Influence (BUI) by the Coast Guard, you could also wind up facing federal criminal charges.

The District Attorneys in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including the Hamptons and North Fork, have toughened their stance against BWI offenses in recent years. In most cases, a first-time BWI offender will not automatically receive a plea deal reducing the charges to the lesser offense of Boating While Ability Impaired (BWAI), a noncriminal violation. Without effective advocacy by an attorney with experience in the nuances of the DWI and BWI laws, most offenders are looking at a criminal record, even for a first arrest.

In the Hamptons, BWI or BUI is often caught during boat checkpoints and accident investigations, because there are generally fewer "traffic" stops on the water. But beware your friendly local harbormaster or marina personnel if you hit the dock too hard or come off your boat reeking of alcohol. Your next stop may be the local police station, and your next call should be to our office.

Because the enhanced BWI statute, passed in 2006, was written and passed quickly by the New York State Legislature, it was written sloppily, as well. There are numerous issues with the law that an experienced New York BWI and DWI attorney can exploit on behalf of our clients. The trick is knowing which one will benefit you, and at the Brill Legal Group, we do.

Our BWI/BUI defense attorneys have handled boating while intoxicated criminal defense cases throughout New York City. Contact us today for a free consultation.

East End/Bridgehampton 631-204-8254

Western Suffolk County 631-479-2180

Manhattan 212-233-4141

Nassau County 516-342-5020

Toll free 888-309-8876