Most Minnesotans are probably aware that a person can be charged with driving while impaired while enjoying a day on Minnesota’s lakes, rivers or any other waterway. Minnesota’s DWI and implied consent laws apply to people operating a motorboat anywhere in the state. It is important to note that a boating while impaired charge acts as harshly against a person accused of BWI as if the person were driving an automobile.
Minnesota’s harsh BWI laws include the same standards as a DWI charge. Last week, Dustin Byfuglien, a 27-year-old defenseman with the Winnipeg Jets appeared in Hennepin County District Court, but reportedly did not reach any plea agreement with prosecutors in a gross misdemeanor BWI case that arose from allegations on Lake Minnetonka last summer. The pro hockey player will be taking his BWI test refusal case before a jury in July.
Law enforcement claims that the hockey player was pulled over late last summer on Lake Minnetonka while boating. A Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputy claims that Byfuglien showed the typical indicia of impairment found in most any police report, but law enforcement claims that the hockey player initially refused to submit to an implied consent alcohol test, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
In addition to the test refusal charge, the Winnipeg Jet faces counts for BWI, boating without enough flotation devices for the passengers on board and for boating without navigation proper lights.
He has pled not guilty to all of the charges and trial is scheduled in Hennepin County for July 23. The trial is expected to take roughly one week, according to the Free Press.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press, “Byfuglien to face jury on boating charges,” Ed Tait, April 19, 2012