Boating is a major part of life for many Texans. Being on the water surrounded by friends and the freedom it affords may lead to you consuming alcohol. While you are allowed to have an open container in the boat with you, the laws surrounding boating while intoxicated (BWI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are very similar. If you are charged, you could face hefty fines, jail time, and suspension of your driver’s license.
A BWI conviction can carry significant ramifications for your legal record and personal life. If you want to learn more about how a lawyer may be able to help your defense, call our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 for a free consultation.
Boating and Drinking Can Lead to Criminal Charges
As we mentioned before, the law views BWI and DWI charges very similarly.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, some differences in the law regarding alcohol in boats versus cars include:
- There are no open container laws for boats, while there are for cars and other motor vehicles.
- Different bodies of water may have varying enforcement policies, while roads throughout Texas generally have the same enforcement of DWI laws.
However, these differences do not preclude those who drive boats from facing a BWI charge.
Generally, you may be arrested and charged with BWI if:
- You are proven to be legally intoxicated while operating a watercraft through the use of a breathalyzer test, blood test, or both.
- You are suspected of being intoxicated by a marine enforcement officer, whether you failed a field sobriety test, refused such a test, or refused to engage in a breathalyzer test.
If you do take a breathalyzer test and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is higher than .08, then you are legally intoxicated. This is the same legal threshold for both driving a motor vehicle and operating a boat.
As a result, you could be facing a BWI charge even if you believed that you were not doing anything wrong, and you may also be facing significant consequences as a result of your pending charge.
Possible Legal Consequences of a BWI Conviction
Boating while intoxicated is generally considered to be a Class B misdemeanor, according to Texas statute 49.06(b).
According to Title 3, Chapter 12, Subchapter A, section 12.22 of the Texas Penal Code, a conviction for a Class B misdemeanor may carry:
- A jail sentence of up to 180 days
- A fine of up to $2,000
- License suspension
- All of the above consequences
Every case of boating while intoxicated is different. Several factors may impact the likelihood of you receiving these sentences for a first-time BWI conviction.
You could also face even greater punishment for a conviction if:
- You were involved in an accident that caused one or more people to suffer bodily harm
- You have previous convictions of a BWI or DWI
- You had a BAC level of .15 or greater at the time of your arrest
- You are facing additional charges in conjunction with your BWI charge
Beyond the legal consequences of a BWI conviction, you may also experience secondary consequences that stem from your charge.
Possible Secondary Consequences of a BWI Conviction
When you are convicted of a criminal act, sometimes the personal aftermath is worse than any jail time, fines, or license suspensions.
A criminal conviction can cause immediate consequences and lingering reminders of your sentencing, such as:
- Being fired from your job
- Facing difficulty finding new employment, or employment that reflects your skills and experience
- Higher insurance premiums, or being denied for insurance altogether
- The installation of an ignition device in your car that prevents you from drinking and driving
- Difficulty obtaining housing
- Damage to your reputation
- Consequences that impact your self-worth and image
You have the right to legal representation as you enter the judicial process.
Call our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 to learn more about how we can help you.
How a Denton Boating While Intoxicated Lawyer Can Help You
There are several reasons why those facing a BWI charge may choose to accept the help of a lawyer.
A Denton boating while intoxicated lawyer may:
- Answer questions that you have about the legal system in Denton, and in general
- Provide a variety of legal services that you may not want to handle on your own
- Have handled BWI cases in the past, perhaps in the same jurisdiction in which you are facing charges
- Serve as your legal representative and advisor throughout the length of your case
You can also expect your lawyer to:
- Conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of your arrest
- Search for ways that law enforcement involved in your arrest may have acted irresponsibly or unethically
- Negotiate any plea deals that work to lessen the charges against you
- Collect and analyze the evidence (or lack thereof) in your case
- If your case goes to trial, present a case that promotes your best interests
- Defend your rights throughout the legal process
If you are interested in finding out more about how a defense attorney may be able to help you, call now.
Call Our Team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
Our founding partner, Randall B. Isenberg, understands how BWI cases work. With over 30 years of experience in the legal system, he once served as a former prosecutor and state district judge. He imparts his knowledge to his dedicated staff.
We will conduct a free consultation and provide you with insight into how we may be able to assist you as your legal team. Call our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253.