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What are the penalties for boating while intoxicated in Texas?

Driving a boat while intoxicated is a crime in Texas. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the law about this is found within the Water Safety Act. You would be considered under the influence if you have a .08 or higher blood alcohol level. In general, you will be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for a BWI. If you are involved in an accident while under the influence and someone dies as a result, you can be convicted of a second-degree felony.

A marine safety enforcement officer may stop or arrest you for a BWI. You will automatically lose your license if you are arrested and your BAC is .08 or higher. If you do not provide a sample to test your BAC, your license will not be suspended if your boat has an engine with less than 50 horsepower as rated by the manufacturer. However, you should be aware that you must provide a sample if someone was injured and taken to a medical facility, you have two or more previous convictions of BWI or DWI or there was a child onboard. In addition, a court can always issue a warrant making you provide a sample.

Sometimes when an arrest takes place, the officer will have you sign a paper agreeing to appear in court and will then immediately release you. All violations of the law are subject to fines and jail time, which vary depending on the charge. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

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