Man accused of drunk boating after accident in northern Minnesota

Law enforcement responded to a report of a boat accident in northern Minnesota Tuesday afternoon around 4:00 p.m. A woman apparently fell from the front of the boat. Authorities say that after she fell into the water the propeller struck her–she suffered injuries to her leg and shoulder. The woman needed surgery to repair a roughly foot-long cut on her thigh.

Investigators say that a man admitted that he had been driving the boat at the time of the crash. But, other witnesses claim that a different man was driving the boat, a 22-year-old who is believed to be the accident victim’s boyfriend.

The witnesses claim that the man who admitted to driving was on shore when the accident occurred. Authorities further claim that the man later said he was ashore as the witnesses had claimed.

While investigating the accident, police say that bottles were found in the vessel. Police say that the accident victim’s boyfriend was speaking “with a thick tongue” after his girlfriend was injured, according to The Bemidji Pioneer.

The probe became an investigation into whether the boyfriend, a Denver resident, had been boating while impaired. Police claim that the man later measured 0.099 in a chemical test for alcohol. He was booked into jail on suspicion of BWI.

A person does not have to be involved in a boating accident to face BWI charges in Minnesota. Like the more traditional driving while impaired charges in a motor vehicle, a BWI charge can lead to significant criminal penalties if a person is ultimately convicted of the offense (including potential time behind bars and significant fines). But boating cases may involve intricacies that differ from a drunk driving case in a car. A person accused of DWI may seek the assistance of legal counsel in defending against the allegations.

Source: The Bemidji Pioneer, “Colorado man charged in boat accident that injured girlfriend,” July 18, 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.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

People facing criminal charges in Minnesota often ask, “Can you defend yourself in court?” You can represent yourself in court when charged with a crime. Self-representation, however, is not typically in the accused's best interests, even if courts allow it.
Parents whose children have been arrested or accused of committing a heinous crime might wonder, “Can a minor be charged with a felony?” A minor aged 14 years or older but below 18 years may face felony charges in Minnesota.
People accused of or under investigation for assault might ask, “What are the charges for assault?” Minnesota has five levels of assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious offense, and a conviction often results in the most severe penalties, like long prison time and hefty fines.