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Boating while intoxicated charges can be complex

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and we Minnesotans make great use of the many lake options that we have. During the summer, you're missing out if you don't take a few trips to the lake and enjoy a few hours out on a boat, hanging out with a few of your friends.

Of course, it is also very natural for these trips to involve people enjoying a few alcoholic beverages. There's nothing wrong with that -- except if you are over the legal limit and you are the operator of the boat. In such a case, you could be arrested for boating while intoxicated, and the consequences for a BWI can be very similar to that of a DWI.

In Minnesota, the legal limit for drink and boating is the same as drinking and driving: an individual's blood alcohol content cannot exceed 0.08. There is no law on the books for minors who drink and boat.

There are numerous complex factors that can go into a BWI arrest. The rules, regulations and penalties may vary a bit, and there are even complexities in terms of how the individual displayed characteristics of drunkenness. For example, being out on a boat means you are soaked in the sun. This can lead to extreme fatigue very quickly, and mixed with other factors, it could contribute to a police officer having a reason to suspect intoxication.

We don't say this to make excuses for people. Instead, we say it to remind people that boating while intoxicated charges aren't always as straightforward as they may seem.

Source: FindLaw, "State Boating Under the Influence Blood Alcohol Levels," Accessed Dec. 17, 2014

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