Boating while intoxicated is a charge that should be taken very seriously. No one should drink and operate a vehicle because of the danger it can cause to oneself as well as others in and around the boating area. If you have been charged with boating while intoxicated, Jason Trumpler is a BWI lawyer in Austin with the experience you need. For more information on your special case, contact Jason Trumpler today.
Section 49.06 of the Texas Penal Code governs the offense of Boating While Intoxicated. Specifically, it provides: Section 49.06 (a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. (b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
As a class B misdemeanor, boating while intoxicated is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time up to 180 days for a first offense, as well as, license suspensions, and surcharges. In addition, a boater may be charged with Intoxication Assault (Texas Penal Code Section 49.07) or Intoxication Manslaughter (Texas Penal Code Section 49.08) for injuries or deaths resulting from the operation of a watercraft. Further, the penalties under Section 49.06 may be enhanced under Section 49.09 if the defendant has prior convictions.
The penalties for someone convicted of boating while intoxicated are often less severe than for driving while intoxicated, but, as with DWI, if harm results to boat passengers or other people then much more serious charges are possible. A key difference between DWI and BW is that in Texas the law enforcement authorities do not require probable cause to board and inspect a boat (in most cases involving Boating While Intoxicated, this will be a Texas Parks & Wildlife official, i.e. a Game Warden). So unlike a DWI, where the police are required to have probable cause to stop a driver (unless some other valid reason exists for the stop such as out of date inspection sticker or broken taillights, etc.), on Texas lakes like Lake Travis, the authorities are empowered to stop you and inspect a boat without probable cause to suspect the driver may be intoxicated. Once on-board the vessel, the officers will almost certainly be looking for signs that the boat driver may be intoxicated.
Even though the statute and penalties for Boating While Intoxicated differ from those for Driving While Intoxicated, the consequences following an arrest for BWI are very similar to those for DWI and may include: suspension of licenses; criminal charges; fines; and imprisonment.
If you have been charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI) on on Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Lake LBJ, Lake Buchanan or any Central Texas lake or river you need aggressive and experienced representation to protect your rights.
Call the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler, at 866-722-8400 or use our contact form and we will return your correspondence.