BWI – Boating While Intoxicated
Boating while intoxicated, or BWI, in Texas is when a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours. BWI is a serious charge. Be a responsible captain of your watercraft. Do not overindulge while enjoying yourself on Texas waters. Always wear a life vest and keep plenty on board for every passenger. And if you’re going to treat guests on your boat, don’t drink.
The attorneys at Trichter & Murphy, PC, have years of experience with Texas boating laws and BWI cases on Texas waterways, including those in Houston, Conroe, Galveston Bay, and Livingston. We understand that a BWI arrest can damage your valuable reputation in the same way that a DWI or DUI arrest can. In fact, the penalties for BWI are the same as DWI and hold same negative impact on your career and family.
BWI Arrest Can Happen to Anyone
Imagine being at sea for 15 hours while fishing. A law enforcement vessel approaches and boards your boat to do a safety inspection. After the officer asks to see the number of life preservers on board, the discussion turns quickly to the smell of alcohol coming from your breath.
You’re whisked off your boat and onto the law enforcement vessel and taken ashore. Once on shore, you’re given 15 minutes to shed your “sea legs” and then asked to stand on one leg, walk a straight line, and tilt your head back while closing your eyes. The officers claim that because you don’t have your normal balance, you are guilty of boating while intoxicated.
This scenario is based on actual cases where someone was unfairly arrested for boating while intoxicated.