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Legislator to admit intoxicated boating charge

A member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Donald H. Dwyer Jr., has indicated that he will enter a plea of guilty to criminal charges of boating while intoxicated. The decision was made as part of a plea deal that will prevent the legislator from being incarcerated.

The arrangement still must be scrutinized and approved by the trial judge. The charge grew out of a boating accident the defendant was involved in during August of 2012, in which a total of seven people suffered various injuries. Four other criminal charges initially lodged against the defendant are going to be dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

At the time of the accident, police claimed that the defendant's blood alcohol level registered triple the allowable limit. The defendant's attorney asserted, however, that his client was not responsible for the accident itself. Initially, both he and a second boat operator were charged with a violation of the equivalent of the "rules of the road" for navigation on water.

The defendant has placed himself in an alcohol treatment program with a six month duration. The intoxicated boating charge carries with it penalties that can be as much as a full year of incarceration and a fine as high as $1,000. All charges lodged against the legislator were classified as misdemeanors and none were related in any way to his legislative duties. Accordingly, they did not cause him to lose his job.

Intoxicated boating charges, like intoxicated driving charges, can be defended against on a variety of grounds. In some instances, a plea arrangement can also be worked out if it appears to be in the best interest of the defendant under the circumstances. Given the possibly harsh consequences of a drunk boating or drunk driving conviction, people facing such charges are well advised to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible time.

Source:  The Washington Post, "Maryland delegate Dwyer will plead guilty to drunken boating charge, lawyer says" John Wagner, May. 13, 2013

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