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Can You Get Arrested For Drinking While Boating in Texas?

Posted By Hines Ranc & Holub || 3-Jun-2016

With summer fast approaching many Texans are donning their flip-flops, bikinis and swim trunks and heading out to Texas’s beaches and lakes. What day out on the lake isn’t complete without a few ice cold beers, right?

But is it illegal to drink while boating?

No. It is not illegal to have open containers on a boat, however, the person operating the boat can get arrested for boating while intoxicated if their blood alcohol level is found to be more than .08%. Unlike a DWI, where an officer is required to have probable cause in order to pull you over, boaters can be stopped at a police officers’ discretion.

How this could be a problem:

When an officer makes a judgment about the sobriety of an individual who has been driving, they usually look three things:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Inability to walk straight
  • Reddened cheeks

After a day of boating and getting in and out of the water, your eyes will likely be red. Sun and wind exposure can also cause your cheeks and facial features can turn red in the same manner they would have if you had consumed too much alcohol. At this point, if an officer should decide to conduct a field sobriety test, you may not be able to walk a straight line due to “sea legs”.

What are the penalties if I’m arrested?

The penalties for boating while intoxicated in Texas are as follows:

First Offense

  • Fines up to $2,000 and/or
  • Jail time up to 180 days

Second Offense

  • Fines up to $4,000 and/or
  • Jail time of one year

Third Offense

  • Fines up to $10,000 and/or
  • Jail time of up to 2-10 years

Were you arrested for a BWI?

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a BWI, you should contact a highly skilled Austin criminal defense attorney at Hines Ranc & Holub for representation. Our experienced attorneys are not the type of back down from a challenge. When you need a tenacious, skilled Austin criminal defense attorney on your side, Hines Ranc & Holub can represent you. Call our offices today for a free case evaluation.
Categories: DWI