Boating While Intoxicated: Staying Out of Trouble on Texas Waters
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is dangerous, be it a car, truck or boat. Many Texans enjoy the numerous lakes of the lone star State when summer rolls around. But those who do so can put others at serious risk. Alcohol is involved in half of all boating accidents, some of which are fatal. Consequently, those operating a watercraft while intoxicated can face charges of BWI, or boating while intoxicated. Read on to learn more about BWI charges in Texas and what you should do if you are arrested.
How Does BWI Differ from DWI?
Much like DWIs, BWIs are serious criminal charges. They can result in jail time, steep fines and even boating and driver’s license suspensions. One significant difference lies in the law enforcement stop. Unlike traffic stops, a law enforcement officer does not need reasonable suspicion to make a boating stop. Many times boaters are stopped for safety issues such as mooring regulations and life jacket checks, but stops do not have to be motivated by a legal violation.
Also, assessing intoxication is complicated by the fact that many boaters experience “sea legs,” after boating. For a law enforcement officer to arrest you for BWI, he or she must have probable cause to believe you had been operating the watercraft while intoxicated. Smelling alcohol on your breath usually prompts such a suspicion. Officers also utilize field sobriety tests, like the one-leg stand, to assess intoxication during DWI stops. But a boater who disembarks and completes these tests for balance and coordination after just 15 minutes of adjustment is at a significant disadvantage. Not surprisingly, many people are unfairly accused of BWI and arrested based off of the results of such skewed tests.
Stay Sober for Boating Safety
Staying out of trouble on Texas’s lakes is easy if you always operate your watercraft sober and make sure everyone consuming alcohol on your boat wears a life jacket. Please note, the State of Texas defines “watercraft” as a vessel, one or more water skis, aquaplane, or other device made for transporting or carrying someone on water. This definition excludes crafts that are powered by the water current itself.
If you do find yourself facing charges for BWI, do yourself a favor and call an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney. BWI cases are similar to DWI cases and involve the same basic elements. Thus, if you are facing charges for boating while intoxicated, it’s essential you find a seasoned DWI defense attorney who can help you navigate your case for best results.
If you’re facing DWI/BWI charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.