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BWI Penalties In Texas

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Many Texas residents enjoy boating. Some enjoy fishing in the water of Lake Livingston while others prefer socializing on the waves of Lake Houston. Wherever you prefer to boat, you should know the rules before heading out. There are laws about drinking alcohol on boats, and boating while intoxicated (BWI) can carry serious penalties.

After a BWI arrest, connect with a legal professional as soon as possible. A Houston DWI lawyer has the skills you need when your reputation and freedoms are at stake.

It Is Legal to Have an Open Container of Alcohol on a Boat

When you are driving a car in Texas you can’t have an open container of alcohol, but you can in a boat. It is legal to drink alcohol while boating, this is true of passengers and operators who are of legal age to drink. But it is essential to keep alcohol consumption within the legal limit, both to follow Texas law and be safe when out on open water.

Both passengers and operators need to consume alcohol responsibly. A person will be deemed legally intoxicated if they are no longer able to function normally or their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. Passengers who are drunk could face public intoxication charges.

BWI Penalties Are Similar to DWI Penalties

In the state of Texas, there are similarities between the penalties for BWIs and DWIs. In both situations, the penalties increase when an individual has a record of prior offenses. The possible penalties are as follows:

  • First offense carries a max fine of two thousand dollars and max jail time of 180 days.
  • Serious injury with a first offense carries a max fine of ten thousand dollars and a max jail time of 10 years.
  • Second offense carries a max fine of four thousand dollars and max jail time of 12 months.
  • Third offense carries a max fine of ten thousand dollars and a max jail time of 20 years.

Because you are legally allowed to drink alcohol on a boat, having the smell of alcohol on your breath will not lead to a BWI charge but it could lead to law enforcement engaging you in sobriety tests. These could include blood tests, urine tests, or breath tests. Once the boat operator’s blood alcohol content is established, the officer will move forward with an arrest if the number is higher than the legal limit.

Talk to a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

To defend your freedoms, you need to discuss your situation with a Houston DWI lawyer in the hours following a drunk driving arrest. This is true if you were driving a car or operating a boat.

Have you been charged with a BWI? Connect with an experienced legal team to explore your defense options. After analyzing the documentation from the arrest, a dismissal may be possible. Reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm to understand your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense attorney today.

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