If you're a Mecklenburg County resident with a boat, we understand that almost primal urge to get out on the area waterways this time of year and just utterly relax.
The lapping waves, the wind in your face, the warm sunshine, the camaraderie of good friends ... these are all compelling catalysts promoting well-being and due appreciation for what summer has to offer in our beautiful area of the state.
If there is -- for lack of a better word -- an "anti-catalyst," it might be this: flashing red lights.
Many North Carolina boaters relaxing with a few beers unexpectedly say hello to state enforcement officials from myriad organizations (e.g., the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the state Wildlife Resources Commission) each summer while out on the water.
Unlike DWI where Officers can only stop a motorist at a checkpoint or for driving violation, Officers can stop any boater, any time, anywhere for a "safety check". This safety check, ostensibly for life preservers and fire extinguishers, can lead to a request for Field Sobriety Tests, which can then lead to a BWI arrest.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW that a boater is NOT required to do Field Sobriety Tests OR an Intox EC IR II test, or any other test of the their blood or breath. Unlike a motorist driving on the roads who is required to "blow" or face a revocation of their license, there is little if any consequence to "refusing to blow" for a boater.
And that can be a decidedly painful experience. As we note on a relevant page of our website at the Law Office of Christopher Connelly, the blowback from a boating while impaired (BWI) arrest and conviction can be "harsh."
Anglers and recreational enthusiasts who just love getting off shore absolutely need to know that, where drinking and driving is concerned, it's more than just wheels-hit-the-road in North Carolina.
Indeed, a BWI-related stop on the water that goes south for a boater may possibly ramp up insurance rates, adversely affect personal credit, bring fines, soil a reputation, create a criminal record and bring problems at work.
Many people underestimate the dire outcome that can attach to a BWI incident.
They shouldn't. A proven legal defense attorney can explain why and provide aggressive representation aimed at dismissing or materially mitigating BWI-related criminal charges.
Our law firm has been providing knowledgeable and tailored legal counsel to clients across North Carolina for more than a quarter of a century. Readers can glean relevant information about our firm online at our Boating While Impaired Defense Lawyer page.
We welcome your visit.