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New Hampshire Boating While Intoxicated

In New Hampshire, operating a boat or other watercraft while under the under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal. If your boating skills are impaired or your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08%, you can be charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI). This crime is just as serious as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and you could be subject to similar penalties.

Most BWI arrests are made by marine patrol officers. Unlike full-time police officers, marine patrol officers are typically seasonal employees who have not received extensive training on the field sobriety tests and breathalyzer machine. When are you arrested for BWI, chances are your case will be prosecuted by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, which is a division of the Department of Safety.

A first BWI offense is classified as a Class B Misdemeanor. If you are convicted of impaired boating, you could be sentenced to fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 (plus a 24% penalty assessment), a nine-month to two-year license suspension, and the loss of your boating privileges for one year. In addition, you may be required to complete an Impaired Driver Intervention Program, which may cost between $460 and $585 and must be paid out of pocket.

Certain factors could aggravate your BWI charge. For example, if you were transporting a minor under the age of 16, you could be ordered to complete a seven-day inpatient Multiple Offender Program (MOP). Depending on the judge, you may also be ordered to receive counseling or additional treatment as well as random drug tests.

Because BWI is a misdemeanor offense, you will develop a criminal record if convicted. This can make applying for jobs difficult, as many employers conduct background checks before extending a job offer.

A BWI conviction may also be used against you if you are charged with another alcohol-related offense in the future. As a multiple offender, you could be subject to increased penalties, including mandatory jail time.