Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) Lawyer in Denton
In Denton and throughout Texas, boating while under the influence of alcohol carries the same penalties as drunk driving, including a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license, fines, and possible jail time. A conviction will also earn you a permanent criminal record, potentially hindering your ability to get a job, rent a home, or hold a professional license.
Although it may seem like a potentially harmless crime, a conviction can significantly impact your life and your future. Before you make any decisions or enter a plea, talk to a boating while intoxicated (BWI) lawyer in Denton.
The legal team of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help protect your legal rights and fight for your future. Call us today at 214-696-9253 to get started.
What Are the Penalties for BWI in Denton?
You could think of boating while intoxicated as a DWI on the water. The penalties are almost identical, and a BWI conviction counts as a prior offense if you do face a drunk driving charge in the future.
Under state law, BWI charges result from operating a watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. Although DWI charges require you to have been driving in a public location, BWI charges apply anywhere you may operate a watercraft while intoxicated. A watercraft may include a boat, water skis, jet skis, and any other personal watercraft or motorized raft.
For your first BWI offense, you will face Class B misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, you could go to jail for up to six months, with a mandatory minimum sentence of three days. You will pay fines of up to $2,000 and lose your driver’s license for as long as one year.
For your second offense, you may face at least 30 days in jail, up to a sentence of one full year. Your fines could reach $4,000 and you may lose your license for up to one year.
For your third offense BWI and beyond, you will face felony charges. This means you will spend between two and 10 years in jail and pay fines up to $10,000. You will lose your license for up to two years.
Upon conviction for a BWI charge, you will have to pay court costs and fees and attend a boating alcohol safety program at your expense. The judge may also give you supervised probation and community service, and compel you to go to rehab or obtain counseling for substance abuse.
Finally, a conviction will remain on your record permanently. Just like a DWI conviction, this may prevent you from holding a professional license and harm your chances of getting a job or renting a home. You will face steep increases in your car insurance premiums and you may be unable to obtain watercraft insurance in the future.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a BWI?
The prosecutor may encourage you to enter a guilty plea for your BWI charge, suggesting that this is the easiest way to move forward or to minimize the time you must spend in jail. Do not make this decision lightly. Once you plead guilty, you will face all the penalties associated with a conviction.
When you choose the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to represent you, you will benefit from Attorney Randall B. Isenberg’s 30 years in the criminal justice system. His time spent as a criminal defense lawyer, state district judge, and felony prosecutor gives him in-depth insight into how the system works—and how the prosecution will build their case against you.
While a BWI charge resembles a DWI charge in many ways, there are some important differences between these situations. Our legal team can use these to build the strongest possible case.
For example, the police do not need reasonable suspicion to board your watercraft. However, they must establish probable cause to arrest you and request a chemical test for BAC. To establish probable cause, they typically perform a specific type of field sobriety test.
Officers must use this assessment, known as the seated standardized field sobriety test, exactly as set forth in official regulations. Failure to follow the regulations could lead to having your BAC testing evidence thrown out.
Our team will examine the evidence in your case to determine whether the police or BAC testing personnel committed any errors or violated your legal rights in any way. If so, we will use this information to bargain with the prosecutor, in an attempt to have your charges reduced or possibly dropped.
Can You Lose Your Driver’s License for a BWI in Texas?
When you get arrested for a DWI, you must attend a separate DMV hearing to determine if—and for how long—the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) will suspend your driver’s license. This Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process also applies to BWI charges.
At the time the police arrest you, they will seize your driver’s license and issue you a temporary permit. Within 15 days, you must submit a formal request for a hearing. If you fail to request a hearing, TxDPS will suspend your license for the maximum possible duration.
Our legal team will represent you at the hearing, to plead your case for keeping your license. This also gives us an opportunity to hear sworn testimony from—and ask questions of—the police officer who arrested you for BWI. We can use this information to assist us in your criminal case.
If the judge elects to suspend your license, we will petition the court for you to receive an occupational license, allowing you to drive legally to and from work or school and to run important personal errands.
Schedule a Free Case Review With a BWI Lawyer in Denton
Having a BWI lawyer represent you, in both the criminal aspect of BWI and the DMV hearing process, ensures the protection of your legal rights and helps you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
You do not have to face this ordeal alone.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg provides complimentary consultations and case reviews, so you can better understand your options. Contact us today at 214-696-9253 to learn more.