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Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated

Did you know that Texas has roughly 300 navigable lakes? Combined, those lakes have more than 4,900 miles of water to enjoy water-related activities, such as fishing and boating. Since Texas is scorching during the summer, there’s nothing better than hitting the water on a hot summer day.

Here in Plano, we’re not far from Lake Ray Hubbard, White Rock Lake, Lewisville Lake, and Mountain Creek Lake. As locals, we are fortunate to have access to such great lakes. Whether you’re living the “lake life,” or simply taking your boat out on the water, you have to be careful about one of America’s favorite pastimes – drinking alcohol while boating, which is criminalized under Texas law.

Drinking & Boating Don’t Mix

It’s common knowledge that people often drink alcohol while boating, and this happens all over the United States, not just in Texas. While it seems harmless enough, the problem is that boats weigh a lot and a drunk boater can easily cause a serious boating accident, which leads to injuries or even death. For this reason, boating while intoxicated is criminalized under Section 49.06 of the Texas Penal Code, Boating While Intoxicated (BWI).

How does the law define intoxicated? Under Sec. 49.01(2), intoxicated means, “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol” or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

Boating while “intoxicated” under Sec. 49.06 is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • 72 hours to 6 months in jail,
  • A maximum fine of $2,000, or
  • By a fine and confinement.

Please understand that a conviction for BWI can have serious ramifications, even if it’s merely prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor. For starters, a conviction would mean a permanent criminal record, which typically affects employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Since a BWI comes up on background checks, it can haunt you for years to come.

Are you facing BWI charges in Plano, Dallas or Fort Worth? If so, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to work with a top-rated defense team!