Eastern Iowa Criminal Defense Attorneys
Back to Top
Eastern Iowa Trial Attorneys

Backed by extensive experience & expertise in handling cases just like yours. Speak with our legal team now.

Boating While Intoxicated: How Alcohol Use Spoils "Fun In The Sun"

Fun, recreation, and alcohol

Most everyone is familiar with the offense of driving while intoxicated. But did you know that, in Iowa, there is also an offense of boating while intoxicated (BWI)? It makes sense, if you think about it. Boating is a much-loved summer tradition in this state. But with the fun and recreation comes the danger of alcohol use and its consequences.

It should be remembered that alcohol can reduce reaction time, as well as the ability to make sound and quick judgments in emergency situations. Also, alcoholic effects are multiplied by movement on the water, sun (including sun glare), and wind.

Criminal offense

Under Iowa Code, it is unlawful to operate a sailboat or motorboat while intoxicated while on the navigable waters of the state (which includes any navigable water except privately owned lakes or farm ponds); that is, under the following conditions:

  • "While under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of [the same].
  • "While having an [blood] alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
  • "While any amount of a controlled substance is present in the . . . person's blood or urine."

Operators who appear impaired may have to take tests administered by a law enforcement officer in order to determine the operator's sobriety. An operator who refuses to take a test may be subject to a penalty.

Penalties for violating this law depend upon the classification of the offense, which ranges from serious misdemeanor, to aggravated misdemeanor, to Class "D" felony, which in turn depends on whether it is a first-time violation, a second violation, or a third or subsequent violation. Each classification carries different terms of imprisonment and fine amounts, as well as other penalties.

Tougher laws?

Boating while intoxicated is a serious offense. In fact, some law enforcement officials of the Department of Natural Resources have gone on the record as saying they would like even tougher laws on alcohol use.

The Iowa Legislature partly addressed this concern in 2011 by lowering the blood alcohol limit for boat operators from .10 to 0.08, the same limit that is imposed on highway drivers. Despite this, some enforcement officials claim that it is inconsistent that operators of boats are allowed to drink while driving (which motor vehicle operators cannot do), and also that open containers can be present in boats (which is illegal in motor vehicles).

The DNR supervisor stationed in northeast Iowa was quoted by The Gazette in 2012 as saying, "Boating and alcohol do not mix. I think it would be great if boaters could not drink at all." As of 2012, though, the DNR had no plan in the works to ask for a change in statutory boating laws. Instead, a spokesperson said that educational campaigns were going to be used.

In 2011, according to the DNR, as reported in The Gazette, citations were issued to 54 boaters for boating while intoxicated, while 38 boating accidents were recorded. Of the 23 boating fatalities that were recorded for the years 2006 through 2010, only 13 involved alcohol.

Conclusion

If you are going to go boating in Iowa, have fun, but keep in mind, too much drinking and driving do not go together. If, however, you are cited for boating while intoxicated, remember that being accused of a crime is not the same thing as being convicted of a crime. You are still entitled to a vigorous defense, one that can be provided to you by an experienced criminal defense attorney.

  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger 

Put Over 50 Years of Combined Trial Experience On Your Side 
  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Jaeger
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
    J. Dean  Keegan Photo
  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger, graduated from the University ...
    Eric D. Tindal Photo
  • Andrea D. Jaeger Andrea D. Jaeger

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Jaeger practices in the areas of white collar ...
    Andrea D. Jaeger Photo

See What Our Clients Have to say

  • I am glad he was there to get my head out of the guillotine when I needed him and keep my record clean.

    “I was stopped for an OWI. Dean took things as far as he could with the appeals process, finding every way possible to keep me driving in the meantime (which I needed to do for my job). Dean argued the ...”

    - Ryan
  • My family and friends appreciate all you have done. Thank you.

    “Thank you, Andrea and Eric. You both did a great job and got me the best results possible in my situation. I would recommend your service to any in need of counsel and I am still amazed in the way ...”

    - Michael
  • Andrea Jaeger is the best defense attorney in the world.

    “Andrea Jaeger is the best defense attorney in the world. She gets the job done for her clients. She goes hard for the best results. She would always be my first choice of defense. She is very ...”

    - Orlando
  • Eric helped give me my life back

    “I was charged with two felonies that carried a life sentence. After sitting in jail for a year with public defenders just going through the motions, I asked the judge to appoint new counsel. Eric was ...”

    - J
  • This is the guy you want!

    “Eric is the whole package. He will fight relentlessly for you, all the while using tact and professionalism. Eric always respected my best interests and kept them his top priority. He is incredibly ...”

    - Anonymous
/

SUCCESSFUL results for our clients

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced, No Incarceration Imposed

    Muscatine County FECR056673. Vehicular Homicide was reduced to Involuntary Manslaughter. Total sentence was suspended.

  • Felony Drug Charges Charges Dismissed

    Muscatine County FECR050038. Attorney Dean Keegan's client was charged with two counts of controlled substance violation, as well as two counts of failure to affix tax stamp. After a year of court appearances and negotiating with the prosecutor, all charges were dismissed with costs assessed to the State.

  • Carrying Weapons, Public Intoxication, & Disorderly Conduct Carrying Weapons & Public Intoxication Charges D

    Linn County AGCR108044. Attorney Dean Keegan's client was charged with Carrying Weapons, Public Intoxication, and Disorderly Conduct. After plea negotiations with the State, Mr. Keegan was successful in dismissing the Carrying Weapons and Public Intoxication charges.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

  • Embezzlement No Criminal Charges Filed

    Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. An employee of a Cedar Rapids business accused of embezzling six million dollars was not charged criminally after the County Attorney agreed to abide by an agreement negotiated by Attorneys J. Dean Keegan and Jerald Kinnamon in which the accused would pay two million dollars to the company.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Operating While Intoxicated 3rd Offense Charge Dismissed

    Linn County OWCR104143. Attorney Dean Keegan's client was charged with a felony 3rd offense OWI. Mr. Keegan argued the officer did not have reasonable grounds to pull over his client. The charges were dropped from a felony to a ticket fine of $15.00 for being in a park past closing time.

/

Keegan, Tindal & Jaeger

Our Commitment to You
  • Our Attorneys Are well Respected Throughout Eastern Iowa

  • We Offer Free Consultations No Matter How Severe The Charge

  • Trial Attorneys With Successful Track Records In The Courtroom

  • Over 50 Years of Combined Experience In Criminal Defense with an Emphasis on OWI's

Keegan, tindal & Jaeger 

Start Your Free Consultation Now
 
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.