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Boating While Intoxicated

Although many are under the incorrect assumption that cases involving operating a vehicle while under the influence only apply to driving a car, there are similarly severe punishments when a boat is involved, particularly when an injury has occurred. Considering that many boating activities tend to involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages, be it on the dock or in the boat itself, Texas law enforcement has made certain to enforce all of the laws that have been written with regard to boating protocol.

With this strict stance on separating alcohol from the operation of a watercraft, knowledge of the laws that govern it, along with the options you have for fighting the allegation will immediately put you in a better position to fight the charges successfully and move on with your life.

Dallas Boating While Intoxicated Attorney

No matter if you are on land or at sea, operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated is looked at as an extremely serious transgression in the state of Texas. Many consider Texas waterways to have a completely different set of rules than the highways and roads of the Lone Star State, but this is far from the actual case. Law enforcement is just as vigilant when it comes to the lakes and rivers of Texas and it is certain that they will crack down on anyone they suspect are under the influence or acting in an unsafe manner.

With this being the case, it is vital, if you find yourself in a position that requires you to fight a boating while intoxicated charge, you should immediately contact a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney who can effectively argue your case and get the charges reduced or completely dismissed. 

With years of experience and a strong track record of success representing those accused of operating motor vehicles under the influence, the legal team at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are well positioned to provide excellent client service while developing a unique defense strategy that takes all factors into account. Their commitment to protecting the rights of the clients they represent has given them the ability to help many individuals that have been presented with similar accusations in the past, with this legal understanding and courtroom knowledge helping those they represent achieve their goals.

Call (972) 233-5700 or send an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with the attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today. The legal team proudly represent individuals accuse of DWI-related offense in the north Texas counties of Dallas, Collin, Wise, Johnson, Grayson County,Tarrant, Denton, Ellis and Rockwall.


Boating While Intoxicated Information Center


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Boating While Intoxicated under Texas Law

The laws regarding boating while intoxicated can be found in section §49.06 of the Texas Penal Code.  This section states that a person commits the offense of boating while intoxicated if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft.
According the Texas Penal Code, "watercraft" is defined as:

  • a vessel,
  • one or more water skis,
  • an aquaplane, or
  • another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, other than a device propelled only by the current of water.

If there was an injury or death involved in a BWI case, a boater may be charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.

The offense of intoxication assault, according to the Texas Penal Code section 49.07, is committed if the person, by accident of mistake:

  • While operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.
  • "Serious bodily injury" means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

The offense of intoxication manslaughter, according to the Texas Penal Code §49.08, occurs if the person:

  • operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride;  and
  • is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.

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Fort Worth Penalties for Boating while Intoxicated in Texas

With regard to the penalties involved if convicted of boating while intoxicated, Texas Penal Code §49.06 states that those accused of an alleged BWI will be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor.  In addition to this charge, there is also a minimum term confinement of seventy-two hours.

According to the Texas Penal Code §12.22, a Class B Misdemeanor, if convicted of the charge, comes with a presumptive sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000. There is also the possibility of additional sanctions, including license suspension and surcharges.

An intoxication assault charge is considered a felony of the third degree, which comes with a presumptive sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines not to exceed $10,000 (Texas Penal Code §12.34).

An intoxication manslaughter offense is considered a felony of the second degree and comes with a presumptive sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or fines not to exceed $10,000 (Texas Penal Code §12.33).


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Plano Boating While Intoxicated Legal Resources

Dallas County District Clerk – This link provides individuals access to their criminal records and criminal case information, miscellaneous court information and resources about the justice system throughout Dallas County. The Criminal District Courthouse is located at:

Frank Crowley Criminal Building
133 N. Riverfront Blvd.
Dallas, Texas 75207
Phone: (214) 653-5960

Texas Constitution and Statutes – This link is to section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines driving while intoxicated in Texas and the potential penalties for a conviction. The Texas Penal Code contains all of the criminal laws in Texas; Chapter 49 pertains to all of the state’s intoxication laws.

Texas Parks & Wildlife – Safety Requirements for Vessels – This website offers information on the safety requirements for boats when out on bodies of water in the state of Texas. It goes over the specifics of what is required with regard to lifesaving devices, sound producing devices, lights, mirrors and personal watercraft. There is also information on safe operation of motorboats.


Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas County Boating While Intoxicated Arrest Lawyer

If you or a loved one is currently dealing with a Boating While Intoxicated allegation in northeast Texas, take the steps necessary to protect your future and contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today.

Representing individuals in and around the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton and McKinney, among others, the legal team at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is prepared to immediately start working on your case and prepare a defense that gives you a greater chance for successfully beating or reducing the charges you currently face.

Call (972) 233-5700 to set up a free and confidential consultation today. The attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy proudly represent individuals in and around the north Texas cities of Grapevine, Decatur, Terrell, Weatherford, Sherman, Rockwall, Burleson, Waxahachie, Arlington, Coppell, Duncanville, Balch Springs, Seagoville, Wylie, Fairview, Crowley, Denton, Flower Mound, The Colony, Rockwall and Mobile City, among many others.


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