BWI & DWI Attorney Denton County, TX | Richard C. McConathy
So many people are under the impression that criminal cases about operating vehicles while intoxicated are all about people driving automobiles while intoxicated. However, a vehicle is defined as a “thing used to transport people or goods”, and this includes boats and other water vehicles. Once you add in the fact that alcohol is often consumed during boating events and activities, it is easy to see why Texas heavily enforces the laws they have in place.
Texas law enforcement officers are committed to enforcing laws pertaining to Boating While Intoxicated (BWI). If you’re operating watercraft, you are not allowed to be physically and/or mentally handicapped by the consumption of alcohol.
Whether you’re in the air, on the land, or in this case, on the sea, operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated is a crime that is heavily enforced in the state of Texas. While many individuals assume that waterways have an entirely different set of laws and regulations from freeways and roadways, this is not true. If law enforcement has any reason to believe that an operator of watercraft is intoxicated or under the influence, they will take immediate action.
With that being said, it is clear that you must put yourself in a position to vigilantly fight your BWI charges. If you’re worried about the outcome of your BWI case in Denton, The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are here to represent you in a court of law. With years of experience helping Denton County citizens achieve legal relief, criminal defense attorney Richard McConathy is ready to help you find yours. Don’t hesitate to call us at 940-222-8004 to learn more about our law firm and how we can help you solve your problems.
The Texas Penal Code section defines boating while intoxicated as a person operating a watercraft while intoxicated. According to the penal code, “watercraft” can be a vessel, water ski, aquaplane, or any other device used for transporting or carrying persons on water, excluding devices solely propelled by currents of water.
Operating watercraft while under the influence of alcohol is heavily frowned upon, but if you wind up hurting another person during the process of operating the watercraft, you will have to deal with additional charges and penalties, such as intoxication assault and/or intoxication manslaughter.
According to Texas Penal Code Sec. § 49.07, intoxication assault in a BWI takes place when another person causes serious bodily injury to another body while operating a piece of aircraft, watercraft, or automobile. In Texas, serious bodily injury is typically classified as any injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes major disfigurement and/or loss of impairment/function of any body part or organ. The Texas Penal Code Sec. § 49.08 classifies intoxication manslaughter as operating a motorized vehicle in a public place and causing the death or another individual by accident or mistake.
According to Texas Penal Code § 49.06, boating while intoxicated is typically classified as a Class B misdemeanor charge. Texas Penal Code § 12.22 explains the maximum punishments of a BWI conviction; if convicted of this Class B misdemeanor, individuals can face punishments of fine amounts not to exceed $2,000, and a jail sentence not to exceed 180 days.
Intoxication assault and manslaughter are much more serious crimes that will carry much more serious consequences. Texas Penal Code § 12.34 classifies intoxication assault as a felony of the third degree. This felony includes a presumptive prison sentence of up to 10 years, along with fines up to $10,000.
Lastly, intoxication manslaughter is considered a 2nd degree felony, according to Texas Penal Code 12.33. This offense is punishable by a 20-year prison sentence and/or fines up to $10,000.
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Safety Requirements for Vessels – This link takes you to the official website for the parks and wildlife of the Lone Star State. At this website, you will find valuable information on the safety requirements for boats when out on bodies of water in the state of Texas. It details the specific requirements associated with lifesaving devices, sound-producing devices, lights, mirrors, and personal watercraft. This website also contains miscellaneous information and tips on how Texans can safely operate their motorboats.
Texas Constitution and Statutes - This link takes you to section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, where you can learn the official definitions of BWI, DWI, and the potential penalties individuals will face after conviction. This penal code also holds information on additional criminal laws in Texas, as well as the other intoxication laws of Texas.
Denton County Criminal District Courthouse - This link takes you to the official Denton County website, where you will find the addresses and contact information for the courthouses in the county.
If you are someone you know is dealing with a BWI charge in Denton County, you’ll need to start finding your criminal defense team immediately. Failure to promptly hire a lawyer can negatively affect your future and chances at a favorable outcome at the end of your trial.
Serving Denton, and the surrounding areas, Richard C. McConathy is an experienced BWI lawyer in Denton who knows how to fight for your rights. With years of experience and a strong reputation for winning the cases he chooses to take on, you can count on him and his litigation staff to do what’s necessary to defend your rights. Interested in knowing more about our law firm? Perhaps you’re looking for a free, private, no-obligation consultation from one of our in-house experts. If this is ever the case, call our Denton office at 940-222-8004 for more information on how we can help. Serving Fort Worth, Frisco, Grapevine, and additional surrounding areas of Denton County, our legal team is ready to work hard on your behalf.