Can I Get a DWI While Driving a Boat?

bwi texas

No, you can’t, but Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) laws in Texas prohibit a person from operating a watercraft when they are intoxicated. This article will cover the current BWI laws in Texas and any penalties associated with this charge.

BWI Convictions

A conviction under BWI Texas laws may occur when a person operates a vessel while:

  • Having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08 percent or higher
  • Impaired by alcohol or drugs so as not having the normal use of your physical or mental faculties

Penalties for a Texas BWI

BWI Texas penalties will depend on several factors, such as whether the operator has a previous BWI or DWI conviction or their involvement in an accident causing death or bodily injury to another person.

texas bwiFirst Offense Penalties

Under the BWI laws in Texas, a first offense is a class B misdemeanor, which will carry jail time between 72 hours and 180 days, as well as a fine of up to $2,000. If the first offense involved the death or injury of another person, the penalties are as follows:

  • Serious bodily injury (intoxication assault) to another is a third-degree felony with imprisonment from two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Death of another person (intoxication manslaughter) is a second-degree felony with imprisonment from two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Second Offense Penalties

Under Texas BWI laws, a second offense is said to occur if the offender has a past conviction of BWI or DWI. It is a class A misdemeanor with jail time of 30 days to 12 months and a fine of up to $4,000.

Third Offense Penalties

If the boater has been convicted of BWI or DWI twice in the past, the third offense will be a third-degree felony. This conviction will carry jail time ranging from two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Suspension of Driver’s License

Any boater operating a watercraft with a BAC of at least 0.08 percent may have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days to one year. The period of suspension will depend on the past 10-year record of the offender regarding BWI or DWI related suspensions.

texas bwiActual Jail Time in BWI in Texas

Texas BWI sentencing laws are complex. If you are sentenced to jail, various factors go into determining the exact jail time, including credits for jail-alternative work programs and proper in-custody conduct. If you are facing criminal charges for BWI in Texas, it is vital to consult a top-rated BWI lawyer with a thorough knowledge of the law and extensive experience in defending individuals involved in BWI. 

Defend Yourself from BWI with an Attorney

Have you been arrested for BWI in the state of Texas? An arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Flood & Associates is a team of dedicated DWI defense attorneys that will fight tooth and nail for victory on your behalf. Call our team 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review and begin the process of defending yourself from BWI penalties.


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