When we hear the words “drunk driving” we tend to automatically assume someone was driving his or her car intoxicated. Most of the time that is the case, but driving a boat while intoxicated is also an issue, especially during the warm summer months.
Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgement, vision, balance and reaction time.
People tend to not take driving a boat as serious as they would drive a
vehicle because of the open water atmosphere. In 2016, there were more than 35 boating fatalities and hundreds of boating accidents and injuries on the Texas waters, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Nationwide, 2016 statistics show 15 percent of all boat fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.
The Texas DUI law includes boating under the influence (BUI).
It is illegal to drive any watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What is considered a watercraft? Any device used to transport a person that does not include any craft that is propelled only by water current, such as a rowboat or kayak.
The BUI law has significant differences from the Texas DWI law.
A police officer cannot enter your car without permission, probable cause or a warrant however, police are able to board your boat in order to perform a safety check without applying any of those three rules.
Impaired boaters can expect severe penalties such as steep fines, jail and loss of driving and boating operator privileges. If you were pulled over for drinking while operating a boat over the Fourth of July holiday, contact Jim Medley today. He is known as a great DWI attorney and has an excellent Criminal Defense team.