Have you ever wondered whether you could get charged for drinking and boating on a jet ski or other personal watercraft? If you live in the state of Texas, the answer is yes. According to Section 49.06 of the Texas Penal Code, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is a serious offense no matter what kind of watercraft you’re piloting. If you are drunk or on drugs while operating a watercraft in Texas, you may need a criminal defense lawyer to defend you.
You could be convicted for a BWI under the following circumstances:
- You are unable to retain complete use of your mental and physical faculties under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Your blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration level is 0.8% or higher.
What Are the Consequences?
Being charged with BWI is the same as getting charged with DWI in Texas. The severity of penalties for BWI can depend on various factors. If this is your first offense, you will most likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and have to pay up to $2,000 in fines and could face jail time. Your jail time could be anywhere from 72 hours to 180 days. However, if you caused an injury or a death, the consequences are more severe.
In the case of an injury, you could be facing third-degree felony charges, even for first-time offenders because it’s considered intoxication assault. This means you could be spending anywhere between two and 10 years in jail and would have to pay up to $10,000 in fines.
A BWI is considered a second offense if you have a prior DWI or BWI conviction. A second offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor. You would have to pay up to $4,000 in fines and could face jail time anywhere between 30 days and a year. Three or more prior DWIs are considered third-degree felonies, which could put you in jail for two to 10 years and fined up to $10,000. Any type of BWI incident will result in immediate suspension of your boating license.
If you or someone you know is facing a BWI charge in Texas and needs a qualified attorney, JL Carpenter can help. Previously a prosecutor, she is a tenacious defense lawyer who helps wrongfully convicted people get the justice they deserve. JL is a skilled lawyer who defends those accused of domestic violence, family violence, drug possession, and other charges.
As a criminal defense lawyer and DWI attorney, she understands the science and nuances that make the difference in BWI, DWI, and driving under the influence cases. Furthermore, the law offices of JL Carpenter also offer pretrial intervention programs. Contact her now to learn more.