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Can the Police Pull You Over While Boating?

Here in Texas, we are lucky to have amazing access to lakes, inland lakes, waterways, and coastal waterways, which many enjoy boating. However, what we’re noticing now over the last 20 years is a real increase in people being arrested for alcohol-related offenses while boating. 

It’s no wonder because Texas State Agencies and County Authorities have been spending more and more money, resources, and training, which have resulted in subsequent arrests of people for alcohol-related offenses. 

We thought it would be a good idea for us to take the next three series and talk about alcohol-related offenses when you’re boating.

Can the police pull you over or stop you while you’re on a boat?

The answer generally is yes. The police have unfettered access to stop you and detain you and come on your boat. It’s one of the warrantless exceptions under your constitutional rights here in Texas. And the auspices of that is going to be a safety check. Generally speaking, any Texas Parks and Wildlife, Coast Guard, or some like a County Agency, if they’re in charge of supervising the Lake, they can stop you and pull you over. They can stop you and check to make sure you have a fire extinguisher, safety lights, safety flares, your tags, registration in the right place, your stickers on the outside of your boat, life jackets, all those kinds of things. Suppose they smell alcohol or see alcohol out in the open. In that case, their investigation could quickly switch from a safety check and do some investigation for boating while intoxicated. You want to be aware that you can probably get pulled over and detained just pretty much anytime you’re operating a boat. 

Please join us over the next couple of In Your Defense series as we talk about alcohol and boating.

We will be answering the following questions: 

  • What is the definition under a penal code of a water boat?
  • What is the legal standard for being intoxicated on a boat? 
  • Can you be pulled over or detained on a boat? 
  • Can the police search your boat? 
  • Can people drink while operating a boat? 
  • Can passengers drink while you are operating the boat? 
  • What are the penalties if you are arrested and convicted of boating while intoxicated? 
  • Can you have your drivers license suspended?

If you have been arrested for boating while intoxicated and have questions, let us know, and attorney Steve Toland or us here at Peek & Toland can help you. 

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