The Differences Between DWI, BWI, and FWI Offenses
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Boating While Intoxicated (BWI), and Flying While Intoxicated (FWI) are all criminal offenses related to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. In Galveston & Houston-Clear Lake, there are lots of popular waterways and airports the people use everyday. As experienced defense attorneys in the area, we’ve seen our fair share of boating & flying related DUI cases.
These are serious criminal charges that carry severe consequences for persons adjudged guilty in the court of law. If you or a loved one were arrested and charged with one of these offenses, our law office can help you.
If you have questions or need legal representation for DUI, DWI, FWI, or BWI, contact us at 409-904-0075. Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock are among the best DWI lawyers in Galveston for helping people charged with these types of offenses, and we can help you too.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Definition and Texas Laws
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. In Texas, DWI laws are outlined under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.04.
Per Texas law, an individual is legally intoxicated when their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches or exceeds 0.08%.
If you’re convicted of DWI in Texas, the penalties can be severe. The severity of the penalties is contingent on the circumstances of the offense and the offender’s prior criminal history.
Here are the general penalties for DWI offenses:
- First Offense: A fine of up to $2,000, 3 to 180 days in jail.
- Second Offense: A fine of up to $4,000, 30 days to 1 year in jail.
- Third Offense: A fine of up to $10,000, 2 to 10 years in prison.
Each offense carries the additional penalty of Texas Driver License suspension and various renewal surcharges. Also, the convicted party may be required to take part in a drug & alcohol education course to qualify for license renewal or reinstatement.
Additional penalties will apply if the offender causes injury, death, or property damage or if a minor is in the vehicle. These offenses will be classified as felony criminal offenses.
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
Definition and Texas Laws
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) is a crime that occurs when an individual operates a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The same BAC limit of 0.08% is used to define intoxication. BWI laws are outlined under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.06. It’s important to note that BWI laws apply to various watercraft types, including motorboats, sailboats, and personal watercraft like jet skis.
BWI penalties in Texas are similar to those for DWI. Here are the general penalties for BWI offenses:
- First Offense: A fine of up to $2,000, 72 hours to 180 days in county jail.
- Second Offense: A fine of up to $4,000, 30 days to 1 year in county jail.
- Third Offense (Felony): A fine of up to $10,000, 2 to 10 years in state jail.
Enhanced felony criminal charges will be applied if the offender causes injury, death, or property damage or if a minor is on the watercraft.
Flying While Intoxicated (FWI)
Definition and Texas Laws
Flying While Intoxicated (FWI) refers to operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. FWI laws in Texas are outlined under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.05. The legal BAC limit for pilots is lower than for drivers and boaters, at 0.04%. Private and commercial pilots are subject to FWI laws & enforcement.
If you’re a pilot and need help fighting allegations that you were flying while high or drunk, contact our law offices immediately at 409-904-0075. Ask for Tad Nelson.
Criminal penalties for Flying While Intoxicated in Texas are determined by the level of intoxication, any prior criminal history on part of the defendant, and any aggravating circumstances. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will likely impose additional penalties in addition to the penalties levied by the State of Texas.
Here are the general penalties for FWI offenses in Texas:
- First Offense: A fine of up to $4,000, 72 hours to 1 year county Jail.
- Second Offense: A fine of up to $4,000, 30 days to 1 year county jail.
- Third Offense (Felony): A fine of up to $10,000, 2 to 10 years in prison.
Additional penalties might include the suspension or revocation of your pilot’s license, and the state may even suspend your Texas Driver License.
The FAA will in all likelihood impost additional penalties, such as fines, license suspension, mandatory drug and alcohol education programs, or a combination of such. If you have questions or need legal representation to fight prosecution, contact our Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock by calling 409-904-0075.
Understanding Implied Consent in Texas
Under Texas law, all drivers, boaters, and pilots are subject to implied consent if they’re using public waterways, roads, or an airport.
Implied Consent means that you automatically consent to sobriety testing when you’re suspected of flying, driving, or boating while intoxicated on alcohol or another substance in public by law enforcement. Refusal to submit to sobriety testing can result in license suspension or revocation.
Legal Defense and Representation
If you’re facing criminal charges for DWI, BWI, or FWI in Galveston or elsewhere in Texas, seek legal representation quickly. Experienced DWI attorneys like Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock will help you better understand the legal system as it relates to your case.
Our law firm will defend your rights and develop a defense strategy that will potentially get your case dismissed. If we can’t get your case dismissed, we may be able to get you probation or deferred adjudication.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer with expertise that pertains to your case, whether it’s DWI, BWI, or FWI, is paramount. Attorney Tad Nelson has over 30 years of experience helping people charged with all sorts of varying DUI offenses.
As a Board Certified® Criminal Law attorney and an ACS/CHAL lawyer-scientist, few lawyers are better suited to help people facing DUI charges. These are cases based on science, namely human biochemistry. If you’re interested in fighting your case, we’re among the best-qualified DUI lawyers in Greater Houston and Texas as a whole.
Prevention and Education
Going to court and fighting criminal charges can be a real hassle, stressful, and a strain on your life. The best way to avoid DWI, BWI, or FWI charges is to drink & think responsibly. If you’re boating or flying, make sure you’re well-rested and sober before heading out. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
To learn more, we recommend participating in educational programs and initiatives that promote safe and responsible behavior. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and local boating and aviation clubs here in Galveston offer plenty of resources on responsible alcohol consumption and the safe operation of automobiles, boats, and airplanes.
Facing Criminal Charges in Galveston?
Call Tad Nelson & Associates Today!
Whether you’re facing criminal charges in Galveston for DWI, BWI, or FWI, hiring a criminal defense lawyer that focuses on offenses involving human biochemistry is key. Furthermore, each offense carries unique penalties and consequences. By educating yourself and seeking legal representation, you can get your criminal charges behind you.
Galveston DWI Lawyer Tad Nelson has extensive experience defending people charged with alcohol & drug-related offenses in addition to many successes with other criminal charges. If you need our help, schedule your 100% free & confidential consultation with our legal defense team by calling us direct at 409-904-0075.