Boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges carry the same penalties as drunk driving offenses. Conviction of this crime can include hefty fines, possible jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record.
A boating while intoxicated (BWI) lawyer in Richardson can help you understand the potential consequences of a conviction and explain your legal options. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. Call 214-696-9253 today to set up an appointment.
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Penalties in Richardson, Texas
You understand how damaging a drunk driving conviction can be for your future but what you may not realize is that a BWI conviction is just as dire. In fact, prosecutors may count on that assumption when they urge you to plead guilty.
Enter a guilty plea on BWI charges, however, and you may successfully avoid spending time in jail, but that is all you will avoid. You may still have:
- Substantial fines
- Court costs and fees
- Supervised probation
- Community service
- Alcohol education courses or substance abuse treatment
- To install a breath-activated ignition lock on your car
You could lose your driver’s license for up to two years depending on your prior record and aggravating circumstances present at the time of your arrest. You will be at risk of a permanent criminal record, which can affect your ability to rent a house, get a job, or hold many types of professional licenses.
For a BWI charge (blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to 0.149), you may face the following penalties.
Boating While Intoxicated – First Offense
- Class B misdemeanor
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- 72 hours to six months in jail
- Driver’s license suspension up to one year
Boating While Intoxicated – Second Offense
- Class A misdemeanor
- Up to $4,000 in fines
- 30 days to one year in jail
- Driver’s license suspension up to one year
Boating While Intoxicated – Third Offense (and subsequent)
- Third-degree felony
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Two to ten years in prison
- Driver’s license suspension up to two years
If your BAC registered at 0.15 or above, or if you caused an accident or injuries, you might face more severe penalties.
A BWI Conviction Can Cost You Your Driver’s License
When the police cite you for BWI, it triggers the same driver’s license suspension process as a DWI charge does. This process, known as Administrative License Revocation (ALR), proceeds independently of your criminal case.
Within 15 days of your arrest, you must schedule an ALR hearing with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). If you fail to schedule a hearing, you relinquish your right to challenge the suspension.
What to Expect At an ALR Hearing
When you appear at the ALR hearing before an administrative law judge, you have the right to present sworn testimony in your defense. However, the prosecutor can use your statements against you in your criminal case.
With a BWI lawyer to represent you, however, you will have an advocate there to make your case and to protect you against self-incrimination. Our legal team can also question the arresting officer in your case, who will also present sworn testimony during the ALR hearing.
Not only does this give us an opportunity to argue against your driver’s license suspension, but it also gives us critical insight into the prosecution’s evidence and the strength of their case.
Occupational Driver’s License
The judge may rule to suspend your license but, if so, we can appeal that decision. We can also petition the court to award you an occupational driver’s license, which will allow you to drive for necessary purposes such as going to work, going to school, seeing the doctor, visiting the bank, and shopping at the grocery store.
What a Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Lawyer Can Do to Help You
The police can charge you with BWI in any watercraft, as long as it has propulsion other than water current. You can face boating while intoxicated charges while riding a jet ski, driving a motorboat, or even in a sailboat according to the Texas Penal Code. Waterskiing while intoxicated also violates the statutes.
When you trust the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to represent you in a BWI case, you will get straight answers and a thorough exploration of how a conviction will affect your life and your future.
We will analyze your case in detail and, using any potential errors of legal rights violations committed by the police, attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of your charges. If we cannot negotiate an acceptable outcome, we can take your case to court and mount the strongest possible defense on your behalf.
The Critical Differences between DWI and BWI Charges in Texas
You have fewer legal rights with BWI than you do with driving while intoxicated charges. The main differences include:
- Law enforcement can board your boat any time to conduct a safety check
- Open containers of alcohol on board can provide probable cause for arrest
- Police can arrest you for BWI in any location
- Police administer BWI field sobriety tests while the boat operator is seated
Despite these differences, we typically use a defense strategy similar to those used in DWI cases. Depending on the details of your case, we can potentially identify problems with the way the police administered the field sobriety tests or find errors in the chemical BAC testing procedures or results.
Free Case Review with a Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Lawyer
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers a no-cost consultation and case analysis for individuals who face BWI charges in Richardson. We can answer your questions and explain your options for fighting these serious charges.