Houston Boating While Intoxicated Defense Attorneys

BWI (Boating While Intoxicated)

Texas has the privilege of being a coastal state and a lot of people like to enjoy the waters by going boating. This why Texans need to be aware of boating laws involving intoxication. Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is another offense under the list of intoxication offenses included in the Texas penal code. If you happen to find yourself committing a BWI offense and getting charged, you need to seek legal counsel immediately.

If you were caught boating while intoxicated, you can be facing severe consequences, so make sure you contact a lawyer for BWI as soon as possible. At The Gonzalez Law Group, we specialize in different practice areas involving intoxication charges, including boating while intoxicated (BWI), so we the experience necessary in these types of cases.

The Gonzalez Law Group is a family firm formed by a group of attorneys actively involved in their client’s case and never leaving them in the dark. We pride ourselves in our criminal defense team and want to defend you in the best light possible. You can get started with us by calling our office at (832) 530-4070 or filling out a free consultation form at the bottom of the page.

We work with clients in the city of Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, Liberty County, Waller County, and more. 

Overview of Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)

BWI Offenses

A BWI is explicitly talking about the operation of a watercraft when intoxicated. A watercraft, by definition, refers to any-sized water vessel or a boat. The dangers of a DWI and BWI go hand in hand because alcohol has a more significant effect on your body when boating than when driving a motor vehicle. The body already has a hard time while on waters because it’s not used to it. Seasickness can already have someone feeling uneasy while on a water vessel. If you add alcohol into the mix, the body’s coordination skills and responsiveness are impacted heavier and more rapidly.

Experience can also affect the situation, as well. Driving is far more common than boating, and more factors affect a boating operator than a driver. You are dealing head-on with nature, and the elements surrounding it can change within a matter of seconds. Chances are if the operator is not in the right state to drive the watercraft, there’s no one else there who can operate it either. Although the state of Texas doesn’t require any special license for boating, if you’re over 18, boating still requires specialized skills that are unfamiliar to most.

BWI Penalties

As stated by Penal Code section 49.06, boating while intoxicated will result in a Class B misdemeanor with minimum confinement in jail for 72 hours. However, the penalties can be aggravated if this isn’t the first BWI charge. Penal Code section 49.09 explains that boating while intoxicated will escalate to a Class A misdemeanor if the person has been previously convicted of another offense involving intoxication such as boating while intoxicated or the following:

  • Driving a car while intoxicated
  • Operating an aircraft while intoxicated
  • Operating/assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated

The penalty for the Class A misdemeanor includes incarceration and confinement of 30 days. In the same manner, boating while intoxicated can escalate to a third-degree felony offense if it’s found that a person was convicted of intoxication manslaughter previously, either in Texas or in another state, or that they were convicted of boating while intoxicated twice before, or the following twice before:

  • Driving a car while intoxicated
  • Operating an aircraft while intoxicated
  • Operating/assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated

The law also states that any deferred adjudication or community supervision will be treated as a previous conviction when taking into account a second offense. The penalties for operating boating while intoxicated can also be aggravated if they involve an assault.

Additional Resources

American Boating Association – The American Boating Association (ABA) is an organization dedicated to boating issues and information. On this page, you can find different news stories for intoxication incidents involving watercrafts. The ABA is also concerned for other people who get intoxicated and choose to operate aircrafts.

Boating Safety Page – Boat Responsibly is an initiative page that dedicates itself to all the safety components of boating. They have a specific page regarding alcohol and its dangers when boating. You can also find other regulations about boating anywhere else on the website.

Attorney for BWI in Houston, TX

If you are someone who has been charged with boating while intoxicated (BWI), you need to contact a lawyer who has previous experience with DWIs and BWIs. Our team of attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group has the right expertise to take on your BWI case.

At The Gonzalez Law Group, we are devoted to different areas of criminal defense law. When you bring your case over to The Gonzalez Law Group, one of your lawyers for BWI can meet with you analyze your case. We will go step by step with the whole process. We will defend you till the end.

We work with clients in Houston, Galveston, Kemah, Waller, Galena Park, Humble, Bellaire, Spring, Alvin, Aldine, Richmond, West University Place, Tomball, Santa Fe, Jacinto City, Freeport, Rosenberg, Conroe, Baytown, and more.

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