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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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BAC Results May Not Prove Innocence in DWI ArrestTexas drivers should be familiar with the number 0.08. That is the blood alcohol concentration level at which someone is considered legally intoxicated. A breath or blood test result of 0.08 or higher will lead to an arrest and charge of driving while intoxicated. However, having a BAC that is less than the legal limit does not preclude a driver from a DWI charge. Texas police officers have the discretion to decide that a driver was legally impaired by an intoxicating substance, even if medical records do not prove it.

Legal Definition

The Texas Penal Code states that police officers can identify intoxication in one of two circumstances:

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