Bikers aren’t the only ones attracted to the week-long festivities at Laconia Motorcycle Week in NH – which is possibly the oldest biker rally in the U.S. The party atmosphere of the northeast’s largest bike week brings visitors from all of the country. Some are bikers themselves, but others are tourists seeking an early summer thrill. Unfortunately, more people means more chances for something to go wrong, so Laconia Motorcycle Week also comes with an influx of New Hampshire State Troopers that supplement the usual DWI enforcement conducted by local Lakes Region Police Departments. And that’s just on the roads! On the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, the New Hampshire Marine Patrol will be out in force with a real presence near the Weirs and the Channel.
Boating OUIs during bike week? You bet – the party atmosphere of Motorcycle week doesn’t stop at the shoreline. Historically, in my own experience, the number one reason boaters are stopped by Marine Patrol is a failure to display proper navigational lights after dark or ½ hour before dusk. Once a stop is initiated, there will be a routine safety check for a throw-able flotation device, life jackets, a horn, lights, and a fire extinguisher. Plus, if any evidence of alcohol impairment arises during this safety check, you can be certain the Marine Patrol will invite you onto their vessel for the Coast Guard version of field sobriety tests. These include the palm pat test, finger pad counting test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Thankfully, the Marine Patrol will not ask you to stand on one leg or walk a straight line on their floating vessel!
Especially during New Hampshire’s famous bike week, when parties abound on and off the water, it’s important to remember there is no difference between a Boating While Impaired (BWI) and a Driving While Impaired (DWI) in terms of the impact on your driver’s license. A conviction for BWI will cost you your driver’s license for the same period of time as a DWI. The implied consent rules are also the same. Refusal to submit to a requested chemical test or testing over the legal limit of .08 for alcohol results in at least a six-month loss of driving privileges, automatically. Interestingly, a DWI conviction results in the revocation of your privilege to operate a boat on the waters of New Hampshire for an entire year. So if you’re in Laconia for the final days of this famous festival, remember to drive and boat safely.
Drunk driving attorney Michael Bowser has years of experience successfully defending those accused of operating a vehicle while drunk in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. If you have been charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI) in New Hampshire or have questions about OUI penalties in either NH or MA, it is vital that you talk to representation who understands the law. Call Attorney Michael Bowser today at 1-888-5BOWSER to discuss drunk boating penalties and your individual circumstances.