A Typical Boating While Intoxicated Investigation & Arrest.
Austin, Texas and the surrounding hill country provide some of the State’s premier lakes for fun in the sun. Understanding officer’s will be patroling the waters, you should refrain from over indulging in alcohol. If officers suspect you are boating while intoxicated (BWI), your fun in the sun will be short cut.
I. BWI Law in Texas:
BWI or Boating While Intoxicated in Texas is when (a) A person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. (b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
Intoxicated is defined as not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties or having a breath or blood test over 0.08 at the time of driving.
BWI convictions mirror DWI consequences. In other words, BWI is a serious charge that can happen to anyone. If you have been arrested for BWI you need to contact an experienced Austin BWI attorney.
II. A BWI Stop and Investigation:
Your typical BWI occurs after you have been on the water for the day. You have avoided the occasional law enforcement vessel, but now you see one approaching. An officer boards your boat to do a safety inspections. After asking to see the number of life preservers on board, officer’s quickly turn the discussion to alcohol. They claim to notice an odor of alcohol on your breath and want to investigate further. They may even put you through a few tests on the boat. Ultimately, they ask you to board their boat and take you to shore. After 15 minutes on land (to rid of your sea-legs), the officer’s ask you to perform field sobriety exercises. In come the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. The officers claim that because you don’t have your normal balance, you are guilty of Boating While Intoxicated. After placing you in handcuffs the officer asks for you to submit to breath test.
III. Understanding your Rights during a BWI Stop and Investigation:
- You have the right to remain silent (and should): The officer will ask you where you are coming from, where you are going, what you have had to drink, when you drank, when you had your last drink, etc. These questions are designed to later be used against you. Understand that what you say will be used against you. You have the right to remain silent, do so.
- You have the right to refuse field sobriety exercises. If the officer wants to perform field sobriety tests, it is your choice on whether to perform them or not. Field sobriety tests are often a valuable tool to show your sobriety. However, they are also designed for you to fail. At this point, it is a no-win situation for you. Refuse the tests and plan on being arrested. Perform the tests and plan on being arrested. Understand that you do have the right to refuse them.
- You have the right to refuse the breath or blood test. The officer will ask you to provide a specimen. You can say no (even on no-refusal weekends). If you refuse the tests the officer may apply for a search warrant to draw your blood. On the other hand, the officer may not.
BWI, like DWI is a highly contested issue. A BWI arrest is based upon an officer’s subjective opinion. An opinion that is often wrong. Whether you admitted to drinking, did the field sobriety exercies, did the breath test, or a warrant was used to draw your blood there are many proven defenses our Austin BWI Attorneys have used to win cases just like yours. Contact an Austin BWI Attorney now to learn more.
IV. Getting out of Jail
Once the BWI investigation is complete, you have been given a bond, and the bond has been posted, you will be released from custody. Make note of both the court number, date, and time, and go get some rest.
It is time to begin the search for a qualified DWI & BWI Lawyer. An Austin BWI Attorney who can provide the resources needed to win your case.
Texas DWI & BWI Case Results
DWI: No Test/No Accident – Dismissed
DWI: No Test/Accident – Not Guilty
DWI: Breath Test, 0.10 – Not Guilty
DWI: Breath Test, 0.17 – Dismissed
DWI: Breath Test, 0.13 – Dismissed
DWI: Blood Test, o.11 – Dismissed
DWI: Blood Test, 0.15 – Dismissed
DWI: Drugs – Dismissed
DUI (under 21) – Dismissed
BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) – Dismissed
Austin DWI & BWI Punishment Ranges
- DWI - 1st
- DWI - 015+
- DWI - 2nd