If you have been accused of BWI in Texas, this could have a significant impact on your future. The arrest or charge could affect your career, your finances, and your freedom. These are worth fighting to preserve. Blass Law will defend you and do everything possible to get your BWI charges reduced or dismissed. Let us go to work for you so that we can build your defense as soon as possible. Call Blass Law now at 713-225-1900 before you speak with anyone else about the case.
Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated in Texas
Texas law defines a BWI as traveling in a watercraft, which is defined as “a vessel, one or more water skis, an aquaplane, or another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water” while legally intoxicated. Texas also defines intoxicated as, “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by the reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug…or a combination into the body.” The same law that applies for driving under the influence also applies while boating in Texas. Therefore, the Texas justice system prosecutes these charges zealously.
The penalties that may be imposed for even a first offense could significantly impact your future. Upon arrest, your boating license may be temporarily revoked or suspended. After a conviction, increased penalties will be imposed. Some of the penalties which you could be facing for a BWI offense in Texas may include:
- First conviction: fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time of up to 180 days.
- Second conviction: fine of up to $4,000 and/or jail time of up to one year.
- Third conviction: fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail time of 2 to10 years.
- Suspension or revocation of Texas boating license
If you have previously been charged with another violation of § 49.045 or 49.06, the penalties may be increased. You may still be charged with a violation of § 49.06 without causing property damage or personal injuries.
How Blass Law Will Protect Your Rights
At Blass Law, we are familiar with the procedures that law enforcement officers use to investigate all types of BWI offenses in Texas. The procedural rules which govern BWI investigations are not exactly the same as those used to investigate driving under the influence offenses.
For example, a law enforcement officer is not required to have probable cause to stop you in a watercraft. This is a much lower standard of privacy compared to when you are driving a car and the officer must have specific articulable facts to stop you, like committing a traffic violation. While boating, police may stop you just to ensure that you are in compliance with safety regulations, regardless of whether you have committed any water safety violations. If you are stopped by the police and they detect the presence of alcohol, they may begin an investigation for BWI. Then, they may order you to go to shore and perform field sobriety and breath tests. You have the right to refuse to perform these tests.
Like any other criminal investigation, police must comply with certain rules if evidence of a BWI is to be admitted in court. We will review the details of the investigation. If we find that investigation has not complied with these procedural rules, we will review all of the state’s evidence, and challenge your BWI charge on that basis. Some of the favorable results we may obtain for you include:
- Reduced charges
- Plea deals for lower offenses
- Reduced sentences
Developing a competent defense against BWI charges in Texas takes time depending on the circumstances of your case. After charges have been filed, you have a limited time to begin this process before your case is brought to court. Accordingly, we recommend that you act without delay to maximize the chances of obtaining a positive outcome. Contact us immediately if you are charged under Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.06, boating while intoxicated, because the longer we have to develop your defense, the better. Blass Law has helped countless individuals and families achieve favorable results in Texas BWI cases and move on with their lives. We know what it takes to defend our clients, and we are standing by to help you fight these charges. Call our offices at 713-225-1900 today for a confidential case evaluation.