Whenever you get the chance to be on the water, you may feel like it is a vacation away from everyday life. However, the law still applies to actions on open waters as they do on land. That means the police may investigate issues which occur on watercraft and may issue tickets in the same manner that they would if the boat-operator was driving a car.
If the police gave you a ticket or arrested you for drunkenly operating a boat, you may wish to speak with an attorney. A Lubbock boating while intoxicated lawyer could help you understand your rights and explain how you can organize a defense against any charges.
Lubbock Laws Relating to Intoxicated Boating
State law dictates that a person may not operate a watercraft if that person is intoxicated. If a person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, or are under the influence of a legal or illegal drug, that is considered intoxication. Craft includes water planes, one or more water skis, sailboats, or any other devices that transport people over water. It excludes machines propelled by the water’s current, such as inner tubes.
If the police accuse someone of operating a watercraft while drunk, that is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable under Penal Code § 49.06. The law requires that a person serve at least 72 hours in confinement, as well as up to 180 days in jail, and pay a $2,000 fine.
If a court had previously convicted the operator of boating while intoxicated offense, the court would enhance the punishment. The operator must serve at least 30 days in confinement, and the violation is increased to a Class A misdemeanor.
If the person operating the boat injures or kills another person, even if it is an accident, that is a crime. Assault is a third-degree felony, and manslaughter is a second-degree felony.
Law enforcement may perform safety inspections on any boats on the water to check the number of life preservers and perform other regulatory tasks. While conducting such an inspection, the police may detect alcohol on the boat operator’s breath or have other reason to suspect that the operator is under the influence
Once the police make that determination, they can order the driver to return to land to do a sobriety test. In some cases, a boater may still have their “sea legs” and may not be able to perform a sobriety test perfectly, despite not being under the influence. A Lubbock boating while intoxicated lawyer could help defend unfair charges of drunk boating due to imperfect sobriety tests and other mistakes.
Get Advice from a Lubbock Boating While Intoxicated Lawyer
During the uncertainty of a police investigation, you may not have been able to advocate for your rights properly. But afterward, you may find speaking with an attorney helpful to fully understand what the police may do and how you defend yourself from any charges. You may find that a Lubbock boating while intoxicated lawyer can offer you vital information so you have made a decision that will best serve your needs. Do not ignore any citations or court hearings. Make sure always to respond and consider enlisting the aid of a legal representative to be in your corner.