Erin Brockovich arrested for misdemeanor boating while impaired

A wildlife official in the desert Southwest says that he noticed a woman having difficulty mooring a boat on Lake Mead over the weekend. Officials say that the woman was alone on the boat Friday as she tried to moor the boat. The woman turned out to be Erin Brockovich, an environmental activist who became well-known after she was portrayed by Julia Roberts in a movie named after Brockovich.

Natural resource officials acknowledge that docking a boat in unfamiliar territory can be difficult at times. But law enforcement apparently thought that the difficulty for Brockovich may have involved something other than mere unfamiliarity.

Officials opened a probe into whether or not the woman was boating while impaired. Ultimately, authorities say that she tested slightly more than two times the legal limit under that state’s law. She faces charges for DWI in a boat, according to an Associated Press report carried in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Each state has its own DWI laws. While all 50 states prohibit driving an automobile with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, the laws on boating vary from that standard in some states. Minnesota sets the legal limit for boating at 0.08 percent BAC.

Boating while impaired charges (or BWI charges) in Minnesota can involve potential aggravating factors and license revocation issues. We have previously discussed issues surrounding DWI charges on many types of vehicles—ranging from ATVs to snowmobiles and more.

BWI charges involving a motorized boat fall under the same ideas underlying Minnesota’s DWI laws. But, constitutional principles and factual issues may also arise in DWI charges involving a motorized boat. A person accused of such an offense has the right to fight the charges, and a Minneapolis DWI lawyer can help in assessing an individual case to help ensure that the case is handled properly.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Erin Brockovich arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated at Lake Mead in Nevada,” Martin Griffith–Associated Press, June 10, 2013

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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