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Laws on Boating Intoxicated in Indiana 

When most people think of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenses in Indiana, their minds immediately go to driving cars, trucks, and motorcycles under the influence. However, what many may not realize is that the scope of OWI laws extends beyond the road and into the water. Yes, you can also be charged with an OWI for boating while intoxicated in Indiana. This oversight can lead to unexpected and serious legal troubles for individuals enjoying Indiana’s beautiful waterways, underestimating the risks and responsibilities that come with piloting a boat. 

Navigating the legal waters after being charged with Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) in Indiana can be incredibly complex and intimidating. The intricacies of the state’s BWI laws demand a thorough understanding and strategic defense to effectively challenge such charges. This is where the importance of hiring an experienced attorney becomes paramount. Without proper legal representation, individuals face the risk of significant penalties, including fines, jail time, and the suspension of boating and even driving privileges. 

Recognizing the unique challenges and stakes involved in BWI cases, the Indianapolis BWI attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are committed to providing robust legal support to those arrested for boating while intoxicated. With a deep understanding of both Indiana’s OWI laws and the specific nuances of BWI cases, our team is well-equipped to navigate the complexities of your case. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we understand the significant impact a BWI charge can have on your life and are here to offer the knowledgeable, aggressive representation you need to protect your rights on the water. 

Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Indiana? Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP Today.

The Indiana Boating While Intoxicated Laws 

As clearly stated in Indiana Code 35-46-9-6, a person who operates a motorboat while (1) having an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood or 210l of breath; (2) having a controlled substance listed in schedule I or schedule II of Indiana Code 35-48-2 (or its metabolite) in the person’s body; or intoxicated; commits a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana. 

Definition of Intoxicated, for the purposes of Boating While Intoxicated Laws in Indiana

Per Indiana Code 35-46-9-3, the term “motorboat” is defined as a watercraft that is propelled by (a) an internal combustion, steam, or electrical inboard or outboard motor or engine; (b) any mechanical means. This term includes sailboats that are equipped with a motor or engine, when the motor or engine is in operation, regardless of whether the sails are hoisted. The term also includes personal watercraft whose primary source of motive power is an inboard motor powering a water jet pump and that is designed to be operated by a person who sits, stands, or kneels on the surface of the watercraft, rather than sitting or standing inside the watercraft.  

Enhancing Circumstances for Boating While Intoxicated in Indiana 

While most cases of boating while intoxicated in Indiana are considered a Class C Misdemeanor, some circumstances could result in a person being charged with a more serious criminal offense. For instance, if the person has a previous conviction for boating while intoxicated or the offense results in serious bodily injury to another person, the charge may be enhanced to a Level 6 felony. On top of that, boating while intoxicated can be a Level 5 felony offense if it results in the death or catastrophic injury of another person.  

Similar to the implied consent laws in Indiana for operating a motor vehicle, Indiana Code 35-46-9-8 makes it clear that any person who chooses to operate a motorboat in water over which Indiana has jurisdiction has given their implied consent to submit to chemical testing. If a person (a) refuses to submit to chemical testing after being advised that a refusal will result in the suspension of their operating privileges; or (b) submits to a chemical test that results in prima facie evidence of intoxication, the arresting officer shall:  

  1. Obtain the person’s driver’s license or permit and issue a receipt valid until the initial hearing of the matter is held 
  1. Submit a probable cause affidavit to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the alleged offense occurred; and  
  1. Send a copy of the affidavit to the BMV 

In other words, if a person suspected of boating while intoxicated in Indiana refuses any chemical test offered by law enforcement, they may be arrested and will have both their motorboat and Indiana driver’s license suspended.  

Potential Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated in Indiana 

The most common criminal charge for boating while intoxicated in Indiana is a Class C misdemeanor. Generally, this is considered the least serious of all criminal charges and carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in prison and up to $500. However, as outlined earlier, a person may be charged with a more serious BWI offense if certain circumstances are at play. For those charged with a Level 6 felony BWI, the potential penalties are as serious as 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000; and for a Level 5 felony BWI, a person could face up to 6 years in prison.  

Collateral Consequences 

When someone is convicted of boating while intoxicated in Indiana, they risk incurring collateral consequences for their actions, even for a first time offense in Indiana. For example, Hoosiers who possess a criminal record may have trouble finding employment, especially if your chosen profession requires you to operate a vehicle or a boat. Furthermore, a BWI could also impact someone’s professional licensure in Indiana This is especially true for nurses in Indiana and other health care professionals, as well as professionals whose job requires them to have a CDL license.     

If you’ve been charged with a BWI and are concerned that a conviction may pose a threat to your professional license in Indiana, you’ll want to hire an attorney who can navigate both the criminal and administrative proceedings ahead of you. The professional license defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have successfully represented dozens of Hoosiers before the various boards of the Professional Licensing Agency. To speak with an attorney who can handle both your BWI and matters related to your professional license, call 317-751-7186. 

The Importance of Hiring an Indiana BWI Defense Attorney 

In the wake of being arrested for boating while intoxicated in Indiana, the decision to secure legal representation is not just a matter of formality; it’s a critical step towards safeguarding your future. The seriousness of BWI cases in Indiana necessitates legal advocate who not only understands the boating while intoxicated laws inside and out but also possesses the strategic acumen to navigate them effectively. This is where hiring an Indiana BWI defense attorney, especially from a leading Indiana criminal defense firm like Keffer Hirschauer LLP, becomes indispensable. 

Keffer Hirschauer LLP stands at the forefront of DUI and BWI defense in Indiana, renowned for our comprehensive grasp of the state’s intoxication laws. Our attorneys are not just versed in the letter of the law; they embody a deep understanding of its application and the intricacies of the legal system. This is pivotal in devising robust defense strategies that minimize potential penalties and protect our clients’ rights and freedoms. 

Tailored Defense Strategies and Specialized Driving Privileges 

One of the benefits of partnering with our Indianapolis law firm is our proficiency in assisting Hoosiers to obtain specialized driving privileges in Indiana. A BWI charge can significantly impact your ability to operate not just boats but also vehicles on land. Our attorneys are adept at navigating the legal pathways that can restore or preserve your driving privileges, ensuring that a BWI charge does not unduly disrupt your daily life more than necessary. 

Protecting Careers of Professionally Licensed Hoosiers 

For professionally licensed individuals, a BWI charge carries the additional risk of jeopardizing their career and professional reputation. The potential for license suspension, fines, and other penalties can have far-reaching consequences on one’s professional standing and future opportunities. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we understand the stakes. Our professional license defense lawyers are skilled in crafting defense strategies that not only aim to mitigate the immediate impacts of a BWI charge but also safeguard your professional license and career from significant setbacks. 

Promoting Brighter Futures Through Expungement 

In addition to defending against immediate charges of boating while intoxicated in Indiana, the attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are also proficient in guiding clients through the process of expungement, once eligible. Indiana’s expungement laws offer a pathway to clear one’s record of certain convictions, including those for BWI, under specific conditions. This legal process can be intricate and demanding, requiring a nuanced understanding of the law to ensure eligibility and success. 

Our Indianapolis attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the expungement process and can provide the necessary legal support to navigate these waters. Obtaining a criminal record expungement can dramatically alter the course of a person’s life, opening doors that might otherwise remain closed due to a past conviction. It’s an opportunity to reset, offering a second chance at a clean slate. By meticulously evaluating your case, determining eligibility, and handling all the requisite legal filings, the Indiana expungement lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP aim to make the expungement process as smooth and successful as possible. 

Charged with Boating While Intoxicated in Indiana? 

If you’ve been charged with boating while intoxicated in Indiana, it’s important to understand that the path ahead does not have to be navigated alone. To get the legal assistance and support you need contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. With a proven track record of success in DUI and BWI defenses, our law firm offers more than just legal experience; we provide peace of mind and a dedicated partner in your corner throughout this challenging time. Our BWI defense attorneys are here to ensure that your rights are protected, your career is preserved, and your life can move forward. 

Laws on Boating While Intoxicated in Indiana
Article Name
Laws on Boating While Intoxicated in Indiana
This post addresses the laws on boating while intoxicated in Indiana, as well as the potential penalties for being convicted of such a crime.
Publisher Name
Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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