Boating while intoxicated (BWI) in Texas can lead to criminal charges and the loss of driving privileges, placing your freedom and your future in jeopardy much like a charge for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The criminal charges could result in fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to 10 years. You also face a civil administrative license revocation.
Given these serious consequences, any BWI charges need to be handled promptly by an experienced attorney familiar with Texas boating and drunk driving laws. If you have been charged with BWI, you need the Austin, TX BWI defense attorneys at Minton, Burton, Bassett & Collins, P.C. We will defend your rights and your reputation. We can help you with your Texas BWI case in Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, Burnet, Comal, Travis and Williamson counties.
Call us today at (512) 476-4873 or contact us through our online form.
Texas BWI Arrest Law
You may be charged with BWI in Texas if you are operating a boat on a lake or river and, like a DWI, you:
- Do not have normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to alcohol or drugs; or
- Have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher.
Unlike a DWI, an officer is not required to have probable cause to stop your boat and test you for suspected impairment. If you are a boater, you can be stopped at the officer’s discretion. This can be a problem when, due to the nature of boating, you may appear to be intoxicated regardless of whether you have consumed any alcohol. You may not be able to walk in a straight line due to “sea legs,” and the sun and wind exposure may give you an appearance similar to those who are intoxicated, such as reddened features, bloodshot eyes or fatigue.
Texas BWI Penalties
The penalties for BWI include the following:
- First offense: Fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time of up to 180 days.
- Second offense: Fine of up to $4,000 and/or jail time of up to one year.
- Third offense: Fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail time of 2-10 years.
If you are stopped for a suspected BWI and refuse to submit to a blood or breath test, your driver’s license could be suspended for at least 180 days. Your driving privileges can also be suspended if you are convicted of a BWI while operating a boat with an engine of at least 50 horsepower.
If you or a loved one has been charged with BWI while boating on area waterways, such as Lake Travis, Lake Austin or Guadalupe River, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. You will have only 15 days from the date the arresting officer serves you with a notice of suspension to request a hearing to contest the suspension, or else your license will be suspended. Usually, the deadline to request a hearing is 15 days after your BWI arrest.
Contact Us Today
Call our Texas drunk driving attorneys at Minton, Burton, Bassett & Collins, P.C., today at (512) 476-4873 or contact us through our online form. We have 45 years of experience representing clients in Austin, TX and the surrounding communities, including: Travis County (Creedmoor, Elroy, Manor, Pflugerville); Williamson County (Cedar Park, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Florence, Leander, Round Rock, Taylor); Hays County (Buda, Dripping Springs, Kyle, San Marcos, Wimberley); Bastrop County (Bastrope, Clearview, Elgin, Rockne, Smithville); Caldwell County (Lockhart, Luling); Burnet County (Bertram, Burnet, Marble Falls); and Comal County (Bulverde, Canyon Lake, Gruene, New Braunfels, Sattler, Startzville). We will defend your rights and reputation.