San Antonio BWI defense lawyerThere are few things more enjoyable than a lovely day out on the water. With all the magnificent lakes and waterways in Texas, boating is an excellent activity you can enjoy with friends, family, or even yourself. So, what happens when you want to crack a cold one out on the water? Unlike driving a car, it is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol while you are driving a boat or watercraft if the operator is at least 21 years of age and does not become legally intoxicated. 

If you have been charged with boating while intoxicated, you may be shocked, as it is not uncommon for legal-aged boaters to enjoy alcohol while on the water. However, if you have been charged with such a crime, it may be wise to hire experienced legal counsel to help you avoid criminal penalties, including fines and prison.  

Being Charged with Boating While Intoxicated in Texas 

Under Texas state law, a person commits the offense of boating while intoxicated if they operate a watercraft with a BAC at or above .08%. To be convicted of boating while intoxicated, you must be found guilty of at least one of these criteria:  

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San Antonio boating while intoxicated attorneyFor many people, boating and drinking are almost synonymous. On a hot summer day, nothing may sound more refreshing than an alcoholic drink. However, boating while under the influence of alcohol is also dangerous. Alcohol is the leading contributor to boating accidents and about a third of all fatal boating accidents involves impairment by alcohol.

Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is unlawful in Texas and violators can face misdemeanor charges for operating a boat while impaired. Usually, BWI is punishable by 72 hours to six months in jail. However, BUI consequences are much more severe if someone is seriously or fatally injured in a boat accident.

Boat Injuries and Deaths in Texas

Unfortunately, severe boat-related injuries and fatalities are more common than many realize. Boat collisions and other boat-related accidents can lead to brain injuries, spine injuries, electric shock, or drowning. If a boat operator is involved in a boat accident in which someone else is serious injured and the operator is intoxicated by alcohol, he or she can face intoxication assault charges.

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Texas BWI defense attorneyNow that we are easing into the springtime and soon into summer, more people will be out enjoying the warm weather. Many Texans enjoy spending time out on the water on their boats or other watercraft when the weather is nice, but what starts as a good time can turn into a serious problem if you are drinking while you are operating your boat. Just like driving while intoxicated (DWI), boating while intoxicated, also referred to as a BWI, can carry serious implications. Anyone facing a BWI charge in Texas should consult with a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss their options.

What Constitutes a BWI Charge?

Everyone has heard at some point that the legal limit for the amount of alcohol in your blood is 0.08 percent. If you have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) above this limit, you are considered to be intoxicated. The same limit also applies to those who are operating a boat. You will be considered to be boating under the influence if you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, or if you have lost your normal mental and/or physical capabilities because of an intoxicating substance.

Unlike with motor vehicles, the open container law does not apply to boats and other types of watercraft. This means your passengers can have open containers of alcohol aboard the boat while it is in operation -- you simply cannot be under the influence if you are operating it.

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Beware Boating While Intoxicated ChargesThe summer can be the height of recreational boating season in Texas, particularly during holidays such as the Fourth of July. Police are aware of this and will be on the lookout for people who have had too much to drink. Boating While Intoxicated is just as serious a charge in Texas as Driving While Intoxicated. People accused of BWI must take the same measures to protect themselves as if they were stopped for a DWI.

Defining Boating While Intoxicated

BWI occurs when a person operating any motorized aquatic vehicle is legally intoxicated, which is defined as having a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Just as with a DWI, the punishment for those convicted varies, depending on the offender’s history and aggravating factors:

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boating while intoxicated, San Antonio criminal defense attorneyAs the summer solstice quickly approaches, set to reach the western hemisphere on June 21 at 12:24 a.m., those in temperate regions look forward to welcoming the warmth of sun-filled longer days. For boaters, in particular, it signifies yet another enjoyable season on the open water but perhaps not without consequences. At last count, more than 88 million U.S. adults participated in recreational boating but owning or operating a recreational watercraft comes with responsibilities. When a boat operator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, serious personal injuries, fatalities and possible criminal charges can shorten the longest of summer days. 

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that, in 2014, there were 5.2 boating fatalities per 100,000 registered recreational vessels nationwide. Many of these deaths were attributed, at least to some degree, to operators choosing to boat while under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. To combat these alarming statistics, the partners of Operation Dry Water (ODW) work diligently to promote awareness of the dangers of boating while under the influence or BWI.

Summer Campaign Planned 

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Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
888-726-5625 Toll Free
210-226-7540