We all know about the dangers and criminal penalties associated with driving while intoxicated, but do you realize the consequences for operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol? In Texas, if you’re caught operating a water vessel under the influence of mind-altering substances, you are liable to face severe criminal penalties. Here is what you need to know about boating while intoxicated in Texas.

Boating while intoxicated, or B.W.I., is illegal under Texas law. “Watercrafts,” defined under Texas Penal Code as “a vessel, one or more water skis, an aquaplane or another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water”, must be operated soberly or with a blood alcohol level that does not surpass .08%.

Being Arrested for B.W.I.
Having a B.W.I. charge is very serious and should be treated with the utmost attention. If this is your first offense, it will most likely be considered a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty would be a $2,000 fine and six months in jail. However, there are other factors which can have a profound impact on your sentencing for B.W.I. If your intoxication caused harm to another, you could be charged with intoxication assault and be sentenced to a decade in prison and have fines of up to $10,000 levied against you. Should your intoxication cost someone else their life, you may be charged with intoxication manslaughter, a felony charge that could land you in prison for as many as 20 years. These charges can become even more serious if the person you injured had a career vital to public safety, such as a firefighter.

Subsequent Convictions
If you are charged with B.W.I. after a prior conviction for either B.W.I. or D.W.I. the offense is classified as a class A misdemeanor. A third B.W.I is considered a third-degree felony and could result in up to a decade in prison, even if no harm was done to another person. You also risk a driver’s license suspension anytime you are charged with operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How Can I Avoid B.W.I.?
There is only one way to ensure that you aren’t charged with B.W.I. Do not operate a boat or other water vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have consumed alcohol, give yourself time to properly sober up or find another person in your party who is sober and qualified to operate the vessel. Unfortunately, even if you have given yourself enough time for the effects of alcohol to wear off, policing on Texas Lakes has become extremely aggressive. You may find yourself arrested even if you have the odor of alcohol on your breath and you are operating a watercraft.

Contact Us
We are a Central Texas law office that handles D.W.I., personal injury law and criminal defense. If you have been charged with B.W.I., give our office a call today. We will work to give your case the attention it deserves and help to reduce your charges with our experienced legal defense team. Our attorneys will work closely with you and help with your case. Contact us as soon as possible and we will be happy to take on your case side by side with you. A B.W.I. charge is serious. But with your case in our hands, you can be sure that you are getting aggressive legal representation which will help mitigate the damage caused to your life and criminal record.