Facts about Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
Many people don’t think of it as a serious issue, but boating while intoxicated (BWI) is classified similarly to DWI under Texas law. That means that an innocent day on the water, relaxing with friends, can quickly turn into a serious situation with potentially life-altering consequences if an individual is charged with BWI.
The most important fact about BWI in Texas is that, under the law, it is not necessary for officers to have probable cause in order to stop a boater suspected of operating the vehicle while intoxicated. Indeed, law enforcement officials can board a boat on Texas waters at any time, and if they suspect that a boater may be intoxicated, they may seek to perform a field sobriety test or breathalyzer in order to determine whether a BWI charge may be appropriate. This means that those accused of BWI are left without one of the important defenses that DWI suspects enjoy.
In order for an individual to be legitimately charged with BWI, they must be operating a motorized vessel (so kayaks, inner tubes, etc. do not count) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08%. Under the law, the penalties for a first time BWI conviction include:
Fines of up to $2000
Jail time of up to 180 days
Furthermore, a BWI conviction can make any future DWI charges much more serious. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer representing your case if you are charged with BWI in order to protect yourself from these and other harmful consequences. If you have received a BWI in Austin, contact Ian Inglis at (512) 472-1950 today to learn more about how he can help you to defend yourself against the charges.