Boating While Intoxicated: What You Need to Know Before Going Out on the Water

After 18 months or so of largely remaining indoors because of the pandemic, people are finally putting their summer plans into action. As you kick-start the festivities, make sure you put safety first. Under Texas law, operating a watercraft while intoxicated is a serious offense. In fact, the punishments for operating a watercraft while intoxicated are the same as those for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

A person can be charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is equal to or greater than 0.08%. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the basics of BWI charges. We’ll also discuss the best course of action to take when you’re stopped for BWI. Continue reading.

What Are the Charges for Boating While Intoxicated?

1. Charged for the First Time

First-offense BWI cases are classified as Class C misdemeanors. If you’re charged and convicted, you’ll be required to spend between 72 hours and 180 days in prison. In addition, you’ll be required to pay up to $2,000 in fines.

However, if another person is injured or dies because the accused was operating a watercraft while legally intoxicated, the charges become a lot more serious. Intoxication assault (injury or bodily harm) is a third-degree felony. It’s punishable by between two and 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Intoxication manslaughter (death), however, is a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of between two and 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

2. Charged for the Second Time

Second-offense BWI cases are classified as Class A misdemeanors. They’re punishable by between 30 days and one year in prison and a maximum of $4,000 in fines.

3. Charged for the Third Time

If you are charged with BWI and you already have two previous BWI or DWI charges, you’ll face sentencing of between two and 10 years in jail. In addition, you’ll be required to pay fines of up to $10,000.

In each of the cases highlighted above, your boating license will be suspended.

Find a BWI Lawyer in the Greater Houston Area

If you’re pulled ashore for a BWI, make sure you get in touch with a BWI lawyer who has an excellent track record. Attorney JL Carpenter has successfully handled numerous BWI, DWI, and DUI cases. Her goal is to get clients’ cases dismissed by creating an aggressive defense for them.

Click here to contact her today and protect your future and freedom. Her practice areas also include DWI, domestic violence, drug possession, and family violence.

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