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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney - Boating While Intoxicated - Minimum 72 hours in jail?

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney - Boating While Intoxicated - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law.

Lake Conroe is a great place to spend Independence Day with your family and friends. Many people enjoy the water on personal or rented boats and jet skis. But the fun can be ruined when a game warden or precinct 1 Constable in Montgomery County, Texas makes an Arrest for Boating While Intoxicated.

Yes even operation of a jet ski can qualify for "boating" while intoxicated. This is due to the definition of watercraft in the penal code.

Sec. 49.06.  BOATING WHILE INTOXICATED.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft.
(b)  Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

"Watercraft" means 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.

A watercraft means 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.

So this means that tubing the Guadalupe is probably fine but skiing behind a boat operated by a sober individual while you are intoxicated is actually a violation of the boating while intoxicated statute.

Did you notice also that there is a minimum jail term of 72 hours confinement? This minimum term of confinement is meant to stop district attorneys offices from offering a plea bargain where the person pays only a fine and does not actually spend any jail time. Boating While Intoxicated is treated almost exactly like Driving While Intoxicated and convictions for Boating While Intoxicated can be used to enhance future punishment cases for DWI and even suspend your driver's license.

If you have been arrested for Boating While Intoxicated on Lake Conroe and refused to give a breath or blood sample or gave a breath sample that had an alcohol concentration greater than .08 then you only have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation hearing to try to save your driver's license from being revoked.

Boating While Intoxicated offenses may start without any particular legal violation of the boating laws. You may be at a total stop in the water and anchored when a game warden initiates a boater safety check. A boater safety check is a procedure where the game warden or other officer detains your boat, boards, and reviews your equipment to make sure you have a horn, proper life vests, lighting and other equipment required by State Boating Laws.

Unlike DWI arrests and detentions a boaters safety check requires no probable cause or reasonable suspicion to initiate. If the officer then smells alcohol on the breath of the person operating the watercraft you can bet that near Independence day on Lake Conroe you may be going through a series of field sobriety tests. These tests could be done on the boat or back on the land after a 15 minute waiting period so that you can regain your balance.

Check out other resources at if you want more information on fighting a DWI or Boating While Intoxicated offense in Montgomery County, Texas.


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