People from all around Texas go boating almost year-round in some areas, but summertime is an especially busy time on Texas waterways. Boating is a great way to unwind, especially when you get to enjoy a few cold ones out on the water. While watercraft passengers are legally allowed to drink alcohol, the boat’s operator is not allowed to exceed the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content.
In Texas, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is the same offense as DWI and is treated as such by both law enforcement and prosecutors. If you are arrested for BWI, you can expect heavy fines and penalties including jail time, depending on your specific charges. That said, if you are charged with BWI, here are a few ways you can strengthen your case:
How to Strengthen Your BWI Case
If you’re arrested on a BWI violation, you must understand your rights and what kinds of measures you need to take to protect those rights. One of the most important things you can do is exercise your right to remain silent. Getting stopped by the police might cause people to feel nervous and apprehensive. But saying too much about what you were doing prior to boarding your boat or showing a defensive demeanor could be viewed by the officer as an indication of intoxication.
Remember that everything you communicate to the officer can be held against you in court. As long as you stay calm and respectful, you can politely inquire as to why you were pulled over. To make an arrest, the police must have a good reason to stop you, i.e., probable cause.
This is why you should have an experienced DWI lawyer review the details of your arrest—especially if you feel that the original boating stop was erroneous.
Many people worry about losing their driver’s license as well as their boating privileges after a BWI arrest. Know that if you refuse to take a breath or blood test, you could face immediate license revocation for a certain length of time. The prosecution recognizes that in the majority of BWI cases, the strongest evidence relies on the findings of these tests and a BWI conviction is generally impossible to get without them.
Just about every state has passed stringent BWI refusal laws so that law enforcement cannot force people to take these tests. The hope for your case is in the fact that these tests have flaws—from the way the dockside field sobriety tests are structured to make you look unstable on video to the fact that blood test devices are not accurate in determining blood alcohol content.
Remember to record important details, such as how much you consumed when you began, when you stopped drinking, and what you ate most recently—share the information with your attorney, but DON’T share it with law enforcement. These facts could be useful in determining probable strategies for defending against a BWI offense in Texas.
If you or someone you know is in trouble because of a BWI charge and needs an attorney in Friendswood or Clear Lake, call attorney JL Carpenter. She is a criminal defense and DWI attorney in Texas. The law office of JL Carpenter deals with a wide range of criminal charges, such as drug possession. Contact her today and let her help you with your BWI charge.