A Maryland legislator has proposed a new DUI law in that state that would increase penalties for any lawmaker convicted of a DUI or any related crime. Delegate Donald H. Dwyer, Jr. proposed the bill to the Maryland House of Delegates in early February 2014. What is interesting about the new proposal is that Dwyer himself has been convicted of a DUI charge, due to a drunk boating incident.
Dwyer was arrested and charged in August 2012 for boating while intoxicated, a misdemeanor crime in Maryland. Dwyer had been operating the boat with a blood alcohol content level three times the legal limit. While boating, an intoxicated Dwyer crashed the boat, injuring seven people. Boating while impaired or intoxicated is a common problem during both the summer and during the off-seasons. In fact, every state has a law against drunk or impaired boating, and the Coast Guard enforces a similar Federal law as well.
Delegate Dwyer pled guilty to the misdemeanor boating charge. He also pled guilty to driving under the influence in a separate incident in August 2013. A judge sentenced Dwyer to serve 30 days jail on each conviction, though Dwyer was allowed to serve the 60-day sentence on weekends. Dwyer has also completed a four-week term at an in-patient rehabilitation clinic that he claims has helped.
In addition to his criminal sentencing, Dwyer faced legislative discipline by the House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch. Busch officially removed Dwyer from the Ways and Means Committee. Though some other Delegates have called for his removal due to the DUI convictions, Dwyer remains in the House for now, where he will continue advocating for his new bill.
Dwyer’s bill would require mandatory minimum penalties for any legislator, sheriff, state’s attorney, the governor, or the lieutenant governor if convicted of a DUI, whether on the road or in the water. The mandatory penalties would include jail time and in-patient rehabilitation. Dwyer has also introduced a bill to amend the Maryland state constitution to include automatic suspension for any Delegate serving a jail sentence.
In New York, any boat operator can be charged with a BWAI (Boating While Ability Impaired) if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is between 0.05 and 0.07 percent. BWAI is a violation level (non-criminal) offense, but a first conviction can result in up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Penalties increase with a second offense, and a third BWAI is a misdemeanor charge that carries with it a permanent criminal record.
Any New York boat operator that is found to have a BAC of more than 0.07 percent can be charged with a BWI (Boating While Intoxicated). A first offense of BWI is a misdemeanor charge and carries tougher penalties than a BWAI, including up to 1 year of jail time, a fine up to $1,000, and a 1-year revocation of all boating privileges and permits.
Being charged in New York with A BWAI or BWI is a serious matter. These alcohol-related offenses and misdemeanor crimes can result in fines, fees, loss of boating privileges, and jail time. If you or someone you know have been charged with a BWAI, BWI, or DWI, contact the experienced New York lawyers at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
For more on Dwyer’s 60 day sentence, click here.
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