Boating While Intoxicated
Enjoying a few beers on your boat with friends can be a great way to enjoy a warm and sunny afternoon in Texas. Unfortunately, during the summer, such activity can also lead to your arrest for boating while intoxicated (BWI). In Texas, BWI offenses can lead to loss of driving privileges, fines, and jail time or probation if you are convicted as well as a permanent mark on your legal record. Obtaining the help of a qualified Houston DWI attorney is a critical first step in protecting your boating rights and ensuring the most favorable outcome for your BWI case.
BWI detection and arrest procedures differ somewhat from those used in DWI offenses. In most cases, law enforcement officials can stop boats without probable cause to perform safety checks. This eliminates the need for police and other public safety officers to demonstrate reasonable suspicion or probable cause before making contact with a boater. If the law enforcement officers see any evidence of drinking, they can initiate a BWI investigation and conduct field sobriety tests and make an arrest of the driver of the boat for BWI.
The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) civil process suspends the driving privileges for boaters who refuse to take a field sobriety test and provide a breath or blood sample, and also those who are subsequently found to be over the legal limit. Boaters have only 15 days after their arrest or citation for BWI to request a hearing to prevent this automatic suspension from going into effect. By retaining the services of a knowledgeable Houston DWI lawyer, individuals accused of BWI can ensure that their driving privileges are protected against the automatic ALR suspension process.
BWI convictions carry similar penalties to those assessed for DWI offenses, including the following:
- For a first BWI conviction, you could be fined as much as $2,000 and/or sentenced to 180 days of jail time, or both
- A second conviction for BWI can result in a fine of $4,000 and/or a jail sentence of one year
- Third convictions for BWI are usually classified as third degree felonies and can incur penalties that include jail time of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000
Selecting the right attorney to manage your BWI case can help you avoid these penalties and can prevent an ALR suspension of your driving privileges.
Matthew Gallagher is a Houston DWI attorney with experience in defending against intoxication related charges such as BWI. His knowledge of the possible defenses for BWI can be a valuable asset to you in attempting to obtain a dismissal or reaching a plea agreement; if your case goes to trial, Matthew Gallagher can provide you with a strong defense against your BWI charge.
BWI convictions can have a major effect on your future and can impact your ability to seek gainful employment, to pursue your educational goals and to maintain a professional license. Matthew Gallagher will zealously work on your behalf to try and prevent or avoid these potential negative consequences of a BWI arrest.