Boating While Intoxicated Attorneys in The Woodlands Preventing False Boating While Intoxicated Accusations
There are many ways to enjoy a boat in Texas, with its beautiful lakes and waterways. However, a fun, leisure activity can quickly turn ugly with too much alcohol and unsafe boating behavior. Water safety patrol casts a wide net when investigating drinking while boating, as the water rules differ slightly from drinking and driving.
It’s not uncommon for boaters to get falsely accused when drinking, even if they haven’t exceeded the lawful limit. Our lawyers at Morgan Bourque Attorney at Law can help you understand boating prevention and minimize the impact of boating while under the influence (BWI), which could result in steep fines, possible jail time, and license suspension.
Consult our experienced BWI lawyers to discuss the details of your charges and a possible resolution to your case: 713-766-3733.
What is Considered Boating While Intoxicated?
Overconsumption while boating is nothing to joke about. Drinking to excess is the leading contributor to boating accidents and fatalities, according to Texas Law, especially when operators have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or more.
Unlike driving, it’s not unlawful to have a few drinks while boating, though you must not exceed the limit. If convicted, a person can face days to years in jail for repeat offenses or BWI incidents with aggravating factors like bodily injury and manslaughter.
To avoid boating while intoxicated charges, be a responsible captain and protect yourself and your passengers. Don’t overdo alcoholic beverages, wear a life vest, and keep plenty on board for your passengers. As boaters, it’s a priority to keep the waterways safe, first and foremost.
What are Boating While Intoxicated Charges in Texas?
BWI penalties are the same as DWI penalties in Texas. Boaters will be fined and possibly face jail time in certain circumstances and license suspension.
A first-offense BWI carries a class B misdemeanor, fines up to $2,000, and between 72 hours and 180 days in jail. However, any bodily injury or fatalities are involved, and a person can face between two and ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
People convicted of a second offense with prior BWI convictions can face class A misdemeanor charges, $4,000 in fines, and 30 days to one year in jail. Third BWI offenses result in third-degree felony charges, two to 10 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines.
What are Boat Operation Requirements in Texas
To safely operate a boat, all boaters must take a boater education course and qualify. People 13 years or older—with adult supervision—can operate some water vessels in Texas with a Boating Certificate issued by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
A person must be 18 years or older, legally allowed to operate watercraft, and an adult must be present with any child younger than 13 years of age when the boat is in operation.
Regarding alcohol, it is not illegal to have open containers and drink on a boat, though it is unlawful to exceed the limit. Remember that law enforcement often finds an intoxicated captain when conducting a random safety check or stopping the boat for another red flag.
What are Possible Defenses to a BWI Charge?
If you are facing BWI charges, half the battle is understanding the consequences of your conviction, if law enforcement is in the right, or if you have been wrongly accused.
The benefit of hiring an experienced attorney lies in building a defense, whatever the circumstances. Our attorneys might use the following responses to beat a BWI charge:
- Rising BAC at the time of field sobriety test
- Improper handling of a blood sample
- Inaccurate breath or blood alcohol test
- Improper administration of field sobriety test
- Insufficient or lack of evidence
It’s possible to dismiss a BWI case with the proper defense due to mistakes, errors, inconsistencies, or improper protocol by law enforcement. With our legal counsel on your case, we expose these vulnerabilities to your advantage. Call our firm for your consultation to review your BWI case: 713-766-3733.