Archive for June, 2013

Texas Cracking Down on Intoxicated Boaters


According to KHOU Houston, there were 90 DWI arrests made this year over the stepped-up enforcement period on Memorial Day Weekend. Four of those arrests were part of an initiative to stop drivers from boating while intoxicated. 

Our Houston DWI lawyers know that the consequences for a charge of boating while intoxicated can be just as severe as those for driving while under the influence. With prime boating season underway now during the summer months, Texas law enforcement will be out in full force monitoring boaters to ensure that they aren’t breaking the laws.

Intoxicated Boating Has Serious Consequences 

Under the laws in Texas, you can be arrested for boating under the influence if your BAC is above the legal limit while you are operating your boat. Although you are allowed to have open containers on your boat, unlike in your vehicle, you may be pulled over by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Officials and asked to complete field sobriety tests or to submit to a test of your blood-alcohol content if there is reason for law enforcement to believe you have had too much to drink. The Shreveport Times indicates that law enforcement in states throughout the U.S. are cracking down on drunk boaters, stepping up enforcement and making laws stricter in light of the fact that the U.S. Coast Guard has named alcohol the leading contributing factor in fatal boating crashes.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Officials and others in law enforcement can pull your boat over to determine if you are intoxicated any time they have reason to suspect that you are boating while drunk. This can include situations where you have been piloting your boat in an erratic manner. If law enforcement sees open containers and alcohol being served on your boat, this can also be a tip-off indicating to law enforcement that the captain might be drinking.

Once you have been pulled over, you have to submit to a BAC test if officers have reason to believe that you are intoxicated. This is because the Texas implied consent laws apply not only to driving a car but also to driving a boat. When you go on the waterways of Texas, you give implied consent to have your blood-alcohol content tested any time there is reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking and boating.

If your BAC is above the legal limit while operating your boat, you can be arrested and subject to the same types of penalties that you would face if arrested for driving your car under the influence of alcohol. You need to ensure you get legal help right away at this point in order to try to minimize the consequences you face.

If you cause a boating accident while you are under the influence of alcohol, then the situation is even more dire. Just this June, for example, the Chicago Tribune reported on the story of a boater who was sentenced to ten years of incarceration for killing a 10-year-old boy while boating. Unfortunately, these types of tragic accidents are not uncommon as the Coast Guard reports that drunken boating was the cause of 17 percent of the 651 fatalities caused by recreational vehicles in 2012. Boaters who cause an accident while allegedly drunk must get legal help right away to protect their rights.

You need an experienced, aggressive Texas DWI lawyer.  Call 1-800-395-5951 today for your free consultation. More than 20 years experience.