Texas Law on Boating While Intoxicated

Texas Law on Boating While Intoxicated

Many people have been warned about the dangers of operating a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However it is not just car and truck drivers that must follow these driving regulations! Operating a boat while under the influence can also carry severe penalties in Texas.

Penalties for BUI in Texas

Texas has the largest number of inland waterways than any state in the country, meaning that there are many opportunities for people to use boats. If you are looking to spend a day out on the water, knowledge of Texas BUI laws can help prevent loss of boating license or the boat itself.

Things to remember about Texas boating laws include:

  • Same as a DUI, a BUI occurs when blood alcohol content is 0.08 or above
  • A first conviction carries up to $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail
  • A second conviction carries up to $4,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • A third conviction carries up to $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in jail
  • License suspension when operating any vessel with an engine over 50 horsepower

Texas law allows for open containers to be present on boats, but public intoxication laws may apply for passengers on the boat. The person driving the boat must be licensed according to boat size and regulations, and will be subject to boating while intoxicated laws.

If You Have Been Stopped for BUI

Excessive boat speed, aggressive turn speeds, and lack of lights and other nighttime safety features may cause a boat to be stopped by police. If a driver has been stopped by police under the suspicion of boating under the influence, there are a few factors that can complicate a field sobriety test.

Spending a day in the sun can create physical conditions that mimic that of intoxication. Red eyes and skin, wobbliness from spending time on a boat, and lightheadedness from dehydration can be mistaken for popular drunk-driving warning signs.

Being stopped for a BUI could result in serious penalties. A lawyer can help prevent the loss of boating rights and privileges on Texas's plentiful open waterways.