Few experiences beat a day of boating out on Texas' many waterways, but a few drinks can go a long way out there. Police officers do not need a reason or probable cause to stop a boat and do a floatation or sobriety check.
If you are charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI), you are facing serious consequences that can follow you for years to come. With help from an Austin boating while intoxicated lawyer from Hines Ranc & Holub, we can explain every detail of your case and help you understand your legal options.
Texas BWI Laws and Penalties
Operating a boat, yacht, Jet Ski, or any other motorized watercraft with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal. The penalties are essentially the same as you would receive under a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, and they depend on a few factors that an Austin boating while intoxicated lawyer from our office can more fully explain:
- Have you ever been convicted of a previous DWI charge of any type in the past?
- Have you ever been involved in an accident that caused serious bodily injury or death to someone else?
Penalties for BWI Accidents with No Serious Injuries
If no serious bodily injuries or deaths resulted from your BWI accident-or if you were charged without having been in an accident-the penalties are as follows:
- First-time BWI offenses are usually class B misdemeanors carrying a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time of between three and 180 days.
- A second BWI conviction is usually a class A misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $4,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.
- A third BWI conviction is a third-degree felony carrying a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time of between two and ten years.
- Automatic suspension of your regular driver's license if the watercraft had an engine more powerful than fifty horsepower.
Penalties for BWI Accidents with Serious Injuries or Deaths
If your BWI accident caused a serious bodily injury, you will be charged with intoxicated assault, a third-degree felony carrying fines of up to $10,000 and a two- to ten-year prison sentence.
If the accident resulted in a death, you will face intoxicated manslaughter charges, a second-degree felony that carries up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence of between two and twenty years.
These penalties can be even worse if the BWI accident caused a victim to enter a persistent vegetative state or if the victim was an emergency service responder in the line of duty.
An Austin BWI Lawyer Can Help
Whether you were involved in a BWI accident or you just got caught in a sobriety check, you should contact an Austin boating while intoxicated lawyer to find out what can be done.
We can often negotiate to reduce your charges, find faults in the arrest procedure or its paperwork that might get your charges dismissed, or find sympathetic prosecutors that might offer leniency if it was your first offense.
Consult an Austin Boating While Intoxicated Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been charged with a BWI, you need to protect yourself from the worst of the consequences. These charges can cost you time, money, relationships, and your career.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case now.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.