Summer is upon us, and with the season comes plenty of times to kick back with a few cold ones. Only, we all need to remember that our summer celebrations should be nothing but safe, even if we’re out on Canyon Lake near St. Marcos or any of the other popular Texas waterways. Driving or boating while intoxicated (DWI or BWI) in Texas have some similar themes, aside from that whole “intoxication” aspect. Both actions will cause criminal charges for operating a vehicle (land or water) if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above .08 percent. Both are also governed by Texas implied consent laws.
Texas implied consent laws are what you agreed to when you got your driver’s or boating license. Simply put, when you signed for your license, you agreed to BAC testing if you were suspected of driving or boating while intoxicated. When you refuse BAC testing, there are automatic penalties for that refusal, including a license suspension or possible ignition interlock requirement on your vehicles (boats are excluded from ignition interlock requirements).
Texas BWI code states that a first-offense violation is a misdemeanor with a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours. A first-offense DWI carries higher penalties, court costs and a longer license suspension than a boating while intoxicated conviction, but both can cause life-changing situations for the driver or anyone else who may be harmed during the incident.
There’s nothing better than summers in Texas, no matter where you call home. Ruining all that fun by driving or boating while intoxicated seems like a waste of a long summer. If you will be drinking, remember that you have some of the best resources today to ensure you have a safe way home, whether you call a rideshare service or get your buddy down the road to be your designated driver.