Connecticut Boating While Intoxicated Lawyer
During the summer months, many of Connecticut’s shoreline towns offer a wide variety of boating activities. On any given spring or summer day, you’re sure to see boats cruising around the Long Island Sound, especially in lower Fairfield County. What people may not realize, however, are the efforts police are recently dialing up to arrest boaters for violating Connecticut BUI / BWI (Boating Under the Influence / Boating While Intoxicated) laws. The tough stance that Connecticut police and prosecutors have taken against on-land DUIs and DWIs have translated to the Long Island Sound.
Recent accidents that involve alcohol and boats have resulted in tragic deaths and personal injuries. That’s why if you are suspected of a Connecticut BWI / BUI, then you should consult a top attorney right away. An arrest or conviction can wreak havoc on your boating license as well as your insurance rates. So don’t leave anything to chance if you have been arrested for a BWI / BUI. Get informed by reading the info below, and more importantly, get in touch with a Connecticut boating while intoxicated lawyer as soon as possible.
What Happens During a Connecticut BUI / BWI Stop?
Getting stopped and pulled over by Connecticut police or Coast Guard officers for a BWI / BUI can be very stressful. It’s important to remember a few things if you are pulled over or arrested for a Connecticut BUI / BWI under CGS 15-133. First, be polite and respectful to the officer at all times. They can arrest you on-the-spot and slap a high bond on you which could keep you locked up in jail until the next business morning. They have a tremendous amount of discretion to charge you with numerous crimes. They can also show mercy and give you a break by issuing you a warning. Have all of your boating paperwork in order, and make sure the paperwork is up-to-date and easily accessible. This includes your boating license, vessel registration, and vessel insurance paperwork. The last thing you need to be doing during a police stop for a BUI or BWI is fidgeting or panicking while trying to find these papers.
Once a police or Coast Guard officer comes aboard your boat, yacht, or vessel, you should understand that he will be looking for evidence of intoxication, drug use, underage drinking and any other violations of the law. Remember—whatever you say to the officer can and will be used against you. So if you have been drinking and operating the vessel, then it’s always a good idea to say nothing rather than admit to drinking.
The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
If the officer suspects a Connecticut BUI / BWI, then what will happen next is that the officer will try to find dry land to administer the Standard Field Sobriety Tests. These are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (the HGN test), the Walk-and-Turn test, and the One-Legged Stand test. During these tests, the police will look carefully for clues that indicate intoxication. If you fail one or more of these tests, then the police will arrest you on the spot for a BUI / BWI under CGS 15-133.
You will be handcuffed and transported to the nearest police station where you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and asked to take a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test to assist the arresting officers in calculating your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If your BAC is over .08, then that is further forensic evidence of intoxication. Remember taking this test is optional—however, as with any traditional on-road Stamford, Greenwich, or Darien DUI / DWI, it is a very important decision and can affect a multitude of factors in your life such as your boating license, boating insurance premiums, and background checks.
Should I Take the Breath Test During a BUI / BWI Stop?
We frequently get this question from our Connecticut clients who have been arrested for operating a boat or motor vehicle under the influence. The police will give you the chance to call a top BUI / BWI or DUI / DWI criminal lawyer to consult with on the decision of whether to blow or not to blow. The consequences and penalties of refusing are serious and stiff—a refusal of the test results in an automatic 6-month suspension of your boating license. If you don’t refuse and you do in fact blow over the limit, then you can lose your boating license for at least 3 months. If there is a serious collision involved, or if there are serious injuries, then you should always call a top Darien, Greenwich or Stamford BUI / BWI criminal attorney to assist you in making this decision to take these tests.
How Can I Fight the DMV Boating License Suspension in a Connecticut BUI / BWI Case?
We are often brought into a BUI / BWI case after the arrest and breath test takes place. At that point, you still have a chance to fight your Connecticut DMV boating license suspension. You are entitled to a DMV per se suspension appeal hearing, which any of the best Stamford attorneys will tell you is always worth undertaking in your BWI / BUI case. There, your lawyer can get a good look at the evidence and police reports early on in your case, and also have an opportunity to cross-examine the arresting Connecticut police or Coast Guard officer. Note that there is a very short window of time to appeal your DMV boating license suspension, so if you are charged with BUI / BWI in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, or Westport Connecticut and want to challenge the suspension of your boater’s license, then you should contact a top lawyer quickly to preserve your appeal rights.
Penalties for Pleading Guilty to a Connecticut 15-133 Boating while Intoxicated Charge
Connecticut’s BUI / BWI laws are codified in C.G.S. § 15-133. A first-time conviction for BWI / BUI can carry a maximum $1000 fine, up to 6 months in jail (2 days of which are mandatory unless the court orders 100 hours of community service), and a guaranteed one year boating license suspension. These penalties increase significantly for repeat BUI / BWI offenders. A second time conviction for BUI / BWI results in a maximum $4000 fine, up to 2 years in jail (120 days of which can neither be reduced nor suspended), and a 3-year boating license suspension. Shockingly, for third and subsequent offenders, a conviction can cost you up to $8000 in fines, a maximum 10-year jail sentence (1 year which cannot be reduced), and a permanent revocation of your boating vessel license. Clearly the stakes are high, making it critical that you find the best Connecticut BUI / BWI criminal lawyer to help you fight your charges.
First Time Connecticut BUI / BWI Offenders – The Pre-trial Alcohol Education Program
If it is your first arrest for a BUI / BWI in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Norwalk, Fairfield, or Westport, then you may be eligible for a first time offenders program called the Alcohol Education Program (the “AEP”). Getting the Alcohol Education Program is not guaranteed, but if you are able to work with a top Norwalk or Stamford Connecticut lawyer, they can work with you to put together an application package that would likely increase your chances of getting this first time BUI / BWI / DWI offenders program. Once granted, you will be required to participate in 10 or 15 classes over the course of a one year monitoring period (not to be confused with probation), as well as attend a Mothers
Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. For BWI / BUI clients with busy work schedules, we can sometimes make a special request to the Superior Court judge to allow you to take all of the classes over the course of a single weekend (through the Amethyst Foundation in New Hampshire. But if you are able to in fact stay out of trouble and not get arrested during that one-year period, then the Superior Court will dismiss your Connecticut BUI / BWI and it will be erased off your record. (Once dismissed, the Mark Sherman Law internet lawyers can assist you in scrubbing the internet and online police blotters of any references of this Connecticut arrest for BUI or BWI. Call to learn more about how we can assist you with removing your online arrest records from the internet).
Fighting Your BUI / BWI Case
The lawyers at Mark Sherman Law combine their years of experience in fighting Connecticut BUI / BWI arrests. In addition to defending people with their first time arrests, we have successfully assisted clients in suspected BUI / BWI cases that have resulted in major injuries (including fatalities). No case is too big or too small for our team of Fairfield County BUI / BWI lawyers. One way we distinguish ourselves from our competitors is our “two-attorney” case review method which ensures that all of your police reports and case files are carefully examined and analyzed by at least 2 of our Stamford-based criminal lawyers. There, we look closely for errors, legal loopholes and state and federal constitutional violations.
You should know that if it’s necessary, we are not afraid to stand up to aggressive prosecutors and file motions to suppress evidence where unconstitutional search and seizure methods were applied. We do not go to court to make friends. We are there for only one purpose: results. Our goal is the best result possible for your Boating while Intoxicated / Boating Under the Influence case.
Contact a BWI / BUI Attorney at Mark Sherman Law Today
So if you are charged in Stamford, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, or Fairfield Connecticut with CGS 15-133 Boating Under the Influence / Boating While Intoxicated, then call one of the criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. The need for a BUI / BWI lawyers begins when the police first make contact with you out in the waters of the Long Island Sound. As explained above, making the wrong decision during the initial police encounter, or during the arrest and booking process, can lead to complications and financial hardships in both criminal court and the DMV, ultimately affecting your boating license. Our rates are reasonable and we are available 24/7 to give you a phone consultation. So don’t wait any longer. Call the Mark Sherman law firm today.