Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) in Texas

A BWI in Texas is very similar to a DWI in Texas. One major difference between BWI and DWI defense is the justification for the stop.  Texas law does not require a police officer have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop a boat operating on the waters of Texas, but does so require for an automobile stop.  On this page our San Antonio, TX DWI attorneys, and Austin, TX DWI attorneys will provide you the basic information you need to know if you have been charged with a BWI in Texas.  Call now for a free, no obligation consultation.

A BWI in Texas occurs when you are in a watercraft that is propelled by anything other than water current.  Essentially, this means that you can be charged with a BWI if you are on the water in any craft other than a self-propelled watercraft, such as a canoe.  Unlike a in a vehicle where the police must have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime in order to stop you, the police can stop you if you are in a boat simply to ensure you are complying with all safety regulations.  Once they stop you, however, they can investigate any crime they believe may be occurring.

If the police stop you in a boat for a safety inspection and smell the odor of alcoholic beverages, they can bootstrap the safety inspection into a BWI investigation.  This means they can take you to shore and ask you to take the field sobriety tests, or portable breath test.

Just as in a DWI in Texas, you have the right to refuse to perform the field sobriety tests or give a sample of your breath in the portable breath test.  Our San Antonio, TX DWI attorneys and Austin, TX DWI attorneys recommend you do not voluntarily submit to either the field sobriety tests or portable breath tests.  Read more information on our field sobriety test page.

A BWI in Texas does have implications that are not found in a DWI in Texas case.  There are serious concerns among both Austin, TX DWI Attorneys and San Antonio, TX DWI attorneys about the validity of the field sobriety tests and justifications and legalities of the stop in a BWI case.  If you have been arrested for a BWI in Texas call us right now for a free, confidential case evaluation.  You only have 15 days to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.  Call now!


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