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Criminal Defense

The Differences Between Peaceable Assembly and Riot, and How You’re Protected

By Peek & Toland on January 21, 2021

“Congress shall make no law…” Most Americans can quote that line from the first amendment, as that amendment to the constitution encompasses the most basic liberties we hold near and dear in the United States, but what is really guaranteed and protected by this amendment, and where is the line when it comes to our right to peaceable assembly?

Blurred lines

While there are some blurred lines and varied interpretations of our first amendment right to assemble peaceably to express our beliefs, there are some pretty firm rules concerning this amendment in the State of Texas.

No matter your political leanings, we all need to be aware of our rights and the laws concerning those rights if we decide to exercise our right to free speech and peaceable assembly. To that end, it’s also incredibly important to understand how to avoid a riot and avoid being criminally liable should you end up being involved with a riot. To better understand what is allowed in protesting, we need to know what is not permissible; so, let’s dive in to four laws concerning peaceable assembly in the State of Texas.

  1. So, what exactly is disorderly?

The laundry list of actions or activities covered under disorderly conduct is quite broad, to say the least, but there are a few big standouts for violations deemed as disorderly conduct:

  • Watch your language – Engaging in any type of language, obscene gestures, or physical and furtive movements designed to incite a breach of the peace is considered to be a violation.
  • Nix the tactical tools – In Texas, especially, we’re proud of our right to carry firearms. You’re well within your rights to carry; however, presenting a gun in a way that instills fear of safety if you use it in a manner that interferes with others’ civil liberties, you’re looking at criminal charges. While responsibly carrying your firearm for protection is acceptable, you’ll need to leave any smoke bombs at home.
  • Location! Location! Location! – Time restrictions and permits to peacefully assemble are common sense when planning to protest, but did you know there are definite restrictions on where you can peacefully protest? Gathering at a funeral with intention to protest is strictly prohibited, as is peaceable assembly near critical infrastructure, which includes pipelines, natural gas, and oil. In order to obstruct a road or highway with your assembly, you’ll need one of those permits I mentioned.

2. What’s on the books about riots?

In the State of Texas, riots are specifically defined in our penal code as seven+ people gathered and engaged in an activity that is absolutely designed to or results in prohibiting others from engaging in their civil liberties. “Your rights end where mine begin” is an adage on which we rely in the U.S., and respecting the rights of others is just as important as asserting your own rights. Always remember that when your passions and emotions run high enough to take a stance.

3. You have an out!

So, you’re aware of others’ rights, and you know what not to do when you protest, but what happens if other protestors aren’t aware of the restrictions on riots and you inadvertently end up in a riot instead of a peaceful protest? It can happen in what seems like an instant, but the good news is that you have a way out of being held criminally liable should you end up in a riot without intending to be. Your “get out of jail free” card comes in knowing that the police need to first give you the opportunity to remedy the situation and remove yourself from destructive or intrusive action before they can arrest you.

4. Watch your step!

In the State of Texas, it’s very clear under the code that you are not allowed to disrupt in any way, shape, form, or fashion a lawful meeting. What does that mean? It means you’re completely covered by the first amendment to peacefully protest outside of a city council meeting or beyond the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol during an active session, but you are not permitted to protest with the sole purpose and design of stopping the governmental function. So, feel free to stand your ground, but make sure the ground on which you stand is outside of and in no way interrupts a lawful event.

These are just a few takeaways to consider before stepping out and standing up for what you believe, especially in the current heated political climate. If you have any questions about your rights or need to consult an experienced advocate to guide you through your defense, we’d love to help. Please tune in to our updates every Wednesday, and follow us on social media for up-to-date information concerning your rights and how we can fight on your behalf.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Asserting your Sixth Amendment Rights Under COVID-19 Restrictions

By Peek & Toland on January 8, 2021

I’ve discussed in previous blogs some portions of your rights that are guaranteed under the sixth amendment, and there’s more to unpack as we attempt to maintain our rights in court while living under the changing COVID-19 restrictions.

What’s at risk here?

One of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the sixth amendment, a right whose violation can drastically affect the outcome of your criminal case, is the right to confront and cross-examine your accuser and witnesses who are testifying against you. Appearing in person and being able to look witnesses in the eye is a basic right with foundations dating back to the very origins of our legal system in Rome and England, so I don’t speak lightly when I stress the importance of maintaining this right as you navigate the criminal courts.

Why is the Confrontation Clause important to me?

In the United States, you are guaranteed the right to confront, face eye-to-eye, and engage with your accuser or anyone offering testimony against you in an attempt to test their credibility. This understandably becomes an issue in the age of COVID-19 restrictions that affect travel, capacity restrictions, and whether witnesses are willing to appear in public places.

We look to a Texas case in the Court of Criminal Appeals to demonstrate the importance of asserting your full sixth amendment rights. Though recent, the decision in discussion and the rationale behind it occurred prior to the COVID-19 restrictions.

A high-level review of this case, in which a nurse practitioner conducted an exam that resulted in physical evidence and testimony against a defendant, is demonstrative of how the right to confront your accuser in person can completely shift the direction and outcome of your case.

As a result of the physical evidence and nurse practitioner’s testimony, the State needed to introduce evidence and the account; however, the nurse practitioner had recently moved out of state and was unwilling to return to Texas to testify in person. Despite this witness’s unwillingness to return to testify in person, the judge hearing this case astonishingly allowed this witness to appear via video and deemed the collected physical evidence permissible. As a result, the Defendant was convicted but was able to fight the conviction in the Court of Criminal Appeals.

This brief account is not simply anecdotal—it provides three very important factors that were key to the decision made, key factors that are takeaways you can apply moving forward in the courts in the age of COVID-19:

Subpoena! Subpoena! Subpoena!

Our first takeaway from this case to note is how perturbed the Court of Criminal Appeals was by the attorney who did not subpoena the witness in question. If you are facing criminal charges, make certain that your attorney subpoenas all of your witnesses. Doing so introduces the threat of contempt and subsequent punishment to any witness unwilling to appear, and it helps ensure the right to confront a witness.

What gives?

Never hesitate to challenge or question the reasons a witness gives for resisting their appearance in court. Your confrontation clause rights allow you to demand a witness appear, despite any fears of COVID-19—it’s perfectly acceptable to remind that judge that the courtroom being safe enough for some means it is safe enough for witnesses to appear. Feel free in your rights to ask what safety procedures are in place if the courts adopted face mask requirements, and whether or not they are respecting the six-feet minimum distance guidance to assert your right to have witnesses appear in person.

Demand swift justice

Another important aspect of this to remember is that you must continually assert your right to a speedy trial. Despite executive orders, gubernatorial decrees, and country restrictions due to the pandemic, you still have every right to a speedy trial and to not linger in limbo waiting months on end for your time in court. You must let your attorney know that you assert your rights to a speedy trial and refuse to agree to anything that attempts to deny your right to speedily complete your case.

Your sixth amendment rights covered here are so fundamental to your receiving a fair trial during the pandemic, which is all the more reason for you to have an experienced attorney who knows how to assert those rights and apply facts and arguments that will help support you.

If you have any questions about your rights or need a trusted advocate for your defense, we’d love to help you take control of your criminal proceedings and ensure that every right afforded to you is met in abundance.

Please tune into our updates every Friday and follow us on social media for up-to-date information concerning your rights and how we can fight on your behalf.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Does the Pandemic Affect My Constitutional Rights?

By Peek & Toland on January 1, 2021

In the United States, we take immense pride in our criminal justice process and wholly depend on our constitutional rights to ensure justice and objectivity when facing accusations and criminal charges. It is a common rationale that nobody, not even the government, can strip from us those rights guaranteed by the Constitution; however, there are certain circumstances in life that can affect those rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic is one of those events currently having a negative impact on our sixth amendment rights.

https://youtu.be/KVKFMAnHaTo

How am I to appear in public?

Before COVID-19 hit the U.S., appearing in public places was not really considered a luxury. Now, though, the threat of this virus has placed more burden on us than just limiting our holiday gatherings and restricting our ability to see movies in the theater. With a long-standing backlog in criminal courts and new, ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, court administrators are grappling with how to keep up with cases while also ensuring our sixth amendment right to a public proceeding. Appearing in public for a hearing is one of our nation’s bedrock principles. Anything that interferes with that is a major issue with which to contend, in addition to fighting criminal charges and accusations you may face. To combat the restrictions on our courts and public assembly, many judges have turned to live-streaming hearings, including creating dedicated YouTube channels and Zoom meetings. Of course, as we’re all aware by now, these virtual hearings come with their own set of complications, including hackers and technological interruptions. Who doesn’t love a good laugh at someone forgetting their mic is on during an inopportune time? But when it comes to fighting criminal charges, these technological issues are no laughing matter, especially when they interfere with the very foundations of our criminal justice system.

What does speedy mean in the era of COVID-19?

Another aspect of our sixth amendment right on which COVID-19 is wreaking havoc goes hand-in-hand with a public trail, and that is your right to a speedy trial. As mentioned, and widely reported, court systems are overburdened with a backlog of cases. Fighting for your sixth amendment right to an expedited hearing was a battle to fight prior to COVID-19. It’s now more important than ever to have an experienced attorney in your corner to ensure your rights are upheld in the chaos of COVID restrictions on our courts. In the State of Texas, speedy, in court terms, is generally held to be eight months, as a minimum. This, of course, is provided your attorney files on your behalf a speedy trial motion and consistently maintains your position that you would like to proceed forward with trial. Executive orders and any gubernatorial orders that relegate the performance of our court systems weigh heavily on the ticking of that speedy trial clock and can definitely work to your disadvantage. You must have an experienced attorney to reassert your sixth amendment rights, even if the judge overseeing your proceeding appears to be powerless as a result of city, county, or state restrictions related to the pandemic.

What about my right to confront those accusing me?

If we’re concerned with public gatherings, travel, and the ability to appear in public hearings, it is only logical that our right to confront those with evidence against us is also in jeopardy, along with the other guarantees of the sixth amendment mentioned here. In addition to who can appear in our courts during a pandemic and how, we’re also left contemplating how safety measures affect our right to face our accusers. How will a judge, jury, witnesses, and attorneys wearing a mask challenge our sixth amendment right to a confrontation? Could this be the veil of secrecy about which our forefathers warned us when fighting to ensure our rights? What safety protocols can survive our constitutional rights? These questions have left our legal scholars scrambling for answers, so you certainly shouldn’t be left alone to contemplate and ensure your rights.

While governors’ orders and safety restrictions may be at odds with our Constitution, we know that removing the right to a confrontation and a speedy, public trial would, in fact, require a constitutional amendment. Until then, the court systems place the burden on you to ensure your rights are upheld and justice is within fair reach throughout your proceedings, even during a pandemic. There’s absolutely no reason for you to ever wage that war on your own.

At Peek & Toland, we’d love to help you take control of your criminal proceedings and ensure that every right afforded to you is met in abundance. Please tune into our updates every Friday and follow us on social media for up-to-date information concerning your rights and how we can fight on your behalf.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Four Tips for Parenting Minors About Alcohol

By Peek & Toland on November 13, 2020

Over the last 20 years, criminal defense attorney Steve Toland has counseled families during difficult times involving their minors and alcohol. Today, Steve wraps up his Minors & Alcohol in Texas series with four tips for parents to discuss alcohol with their minors.

1. Explain to them what the law is.
Often, children go off to college, and there are parties where alcohol is freely served and forget that underage drinking is still against the law. So, what is the law? If you are under 21, the law states you are not allowed to consume alcohol, and you cannot possess it. That means touch it, hold it, or be immediately accessible to alcohol.

2. Identify areas of risk for them
It’s vital when kids start going to high school parties or ride around in cars with others to be aware of the scenarios where they could be charged with alcohol possession. Some risk areas are tailgate parties, football games, house parties, in a car, at a nightclub, being outside a house holding a drink for a friend, etc.

3. Teach them about constructive possession.
Constructive possession includes touching alcohol, in control of alcohol, or an immediate reachable area of alcohol. For example, you are in a car, and there’s a 12 pack of beer, anyone who has access to that alcohol, even if you’re not actively holding it, could be charged with minor in possession through the doctrine of constructive possession. Another typical example is when you’re at a table, and there’s a pitcher of beer, and there are cups around. Even if you’re not holding one of the cups, a minor can be charged.

4.Talk to them about the emergency medical exception.
If a minor is scared and thinks that they or a friend has had way too much to drink, they can notify emergency personnel and not be charged. However, you must call and wait for help to arrive and cooperate by telling the truth. If a minor does all that, they will not be liable under the criminal charge of minor in possession or minor in alcohol consumption. Even if they have alcohol on them or have consumed alcohol, they can be immune from that liability.

The emergency medical exception is very important for minors to know, so they are not afraid to ask for help when they believe that they or a friend is in danger of alcohol poisoning.

If you have any questions about these issues or need help with your minor on applying for college if they have a record, reach out to us here at Peek & Toland, we’re always glad to help.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Minors in Possession of Alcohol in Texas: What You Need to Know

By Peek & Toland on November 13, 2020

Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Toland continues his series about Minors and Alcohol. Today he discusses minors in possession of alcohol.

Last week he discussed the rules of underage drinking and the consumption of alcohol. Today he discusses what it means to have possession of alcohol, where minors are most at risk, and how a minor could be charged with alcohol possession in Texas.

The What 

If you’re under 21 and you’re outside of parental or guardianship supervision, you’re not allowed to possess alcohol in any way. Pretty straightforward. 

The Where

We know that kids under 21 don’t always think these things through, so they need to note where they are most at risk. 

The most obvious is a night at a nightclub. There are clubs where 18 and older are allowed to enter. If they’re sitting at a table and there’s alcohol, they can be accused and charged with that. 

Other common places are a car, a fraternity or sorority house, tailgating, social gathering, or a school event. Any of those scenarios are areas minors should be aware of the potential risks of being charged with alcohol possession.  

The How 

How do they prove this? It’s through this essential element of the crime known as constructive possession. If you’re touching it, if you’re in control of it or an immediate reachable area, it can be a possession of alcohol. For example, or if you’re at a table and there’s a pitcher of beer and cups scattered, they’re going to view that as constructive possession. If you have the reachable ability to possess that alcohol, a police officer will likely charge you with a minor in possession. 

The penalty range is just the same for other class Cs that we’ve talked about with alcohol. It’s up to a $500 fine. It’s not a jailable offense. However, it can stay on your record. Many applications like college, grad school, and even employment are now asking if you’ve had any contact with law enforcement, and that includes a citation. 

As always, if you have a loved one that is struggling with this issue, or has questions about minors in possession or consumption of alcohol, reach out to us here at Peek & Toland.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Do Immigrants Increase Crime Rates in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on November 11, 2020

In the past couple of years, there have been comments made by the President that have made people question whether immigrants, specifically illegal immigrants, increase crime rates in the United States.

Immigration attorney Jeff Peek discusses the data recently published by CATO Institute that studied Texas data regarding illegal immigrants and crime rates.

In a recent Gallup poll, 42% of respondents said, yes, illegal immigrants increase the amount of crime in the community. 50% said they didn’t think so. And 7% said they thought they decreased the amount of crime. So what is the truth?

There is interesting work being done over at the CATO Institute, analyzing data out of Texas. The data shows the conviction rates per hundred thousand population.

Here are the findings:
535/100,000 are legal immigrants
782/100,000 are illegal immigrants
1,422/100,000 are native-born U.S. citizens

Interestingly enough, the lowest crime rate for a hundred thousand conviction rates is legal immigrants. The next highest category is illegal immigrants, which leaves with the staggering interesting thought that native U.S. born citizens in Texas are more likely to commit crimes than their legal and illegal immigrant counterparts.

In some sense, you can say the myth that illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crime compared to U.S. citizens or legal immigrants is somewhat untrue.

To be fair, when people talk about statistics, they like to shine a light to present their arguments the best way. The counter-argument is that every person illegally present in the United States is committing a crime under federal code. And that is technically true. But we are focusing on property crime, violent crime, drug crime, the crimes that affect us in our daily lives.

It’s important to note that these are based on estimates because we don’t technically know the full number of illegal immigrants in the United States. We make guesstimates based on all sorts of data. It could be possible that the illegal immigrant population is much lower than we estimate. If that were true, then this number would go up. But most people who study this believe if anything, we’re probably undercounting or underestimating the number of illegal immigrants in the United States.

You can view this information right now at cato.org/workingpapers and draw your conclusions. But we must speak honestly about the value that immigrants bring to the country.

There are other studies out there. One example found out that by the DACA passage, they saw the crime rate go down when you offered immigrants the opportunity to have a work permit. When people are here legally allowed to work, they’re less likely to be involved in crime.

Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t any immigrants committing a crime. As the report shows, both legal and illegal immigrants commit crimes, but it is not what the President has painted it to be. It’s always essential to have real information and real data and not just listen to false statements.

You can find CATO’s publication here: https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/2020-10/working-paper-60.pdf.

If you have an immigration question, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 512-474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

Rules for Minors & the Consumption of Alcohol in Texas

By Peek & Toland on October 30, 2020

One of the most stressful times as a parent is teaching their minors about the peer pressures of alcohol and drugs. Attorney Steve Toland begins a series on minors and alcohol in Texas. In this video, he discusses four rules or things to remember about minors in alcohol consumption or underage drinking in Texas.

1. Any amount of alcohol that can subject your child to a ticket for minors and consumption

As you are aware, you have to be 21 or over to drink alcohol. Therefore, any amount of alcohol counts. There is a myriad of ways that a police officer can prove that your child has consumed alcohol, such as alcohol smelled on their breath, or they admit to drinking alcohol. Although rare, they can also get a breath or blood test.

2. Minor in consumption of alcohol is a class C ticket.

A class C ticket is punishable up to a $500 fine, and it can stay on their record. If you’re not careful, it can really hamper children applying to college. Most college applications ask about any contact with law enforcement, any ticketable offense, not just arrestable offenses.

3. There is an exception that exists for minors and consumption, but it’s really narrow.

In a nutshell, the exception says that if you are within a vantage point or within eyesight of your parents, spouse, or guardian, you’re allowed to drink alcohol. But that’s a rare exception. Kids who are caught drinking alcohol are usually not doing it in front of their parents. They are generally with their friends.
Remember that a guardian is somebody who under Texas laws is their caretaker and guardian and has those rights under the law. Chaperones don’t count. For example, you can’t have a couple of parents watch over a teenage party.

4. There is a medical assistance exception for minors and consumption of alcohol

This is a great thing that the Texas legislature carved out to protect kids and encourage them to report overindulgence of alcohol or potential alcohol poisoning. So, any conversation you have with your kiddos, you want to be able to really talk to them about this exception. Suppose they find themselves scared because they had too much to drink. In that case, they can call and tell any hospital staff, medical assistant, or a police officer for help. They will not be charged with a minor in consumption as long as they tell the truth.

The exception also applies to a friend. Suppose you are a friend of somebody who’s had too much to drink, and you may have had a few sips of alcohol as well. However, if you are afraid that your friend might be at risk of alcohol poisoning, you can report it and not get charged with a minor consumption ticket, either. As long as you stay the entire time to cooperate with the police, the medical staff, and you stay with your friend until their parents come or someone is there with them.

As always, if you have any questions about these issues, please reach out to us. We are always glad to help.

Posted in Criminal Defense

Penalties for Boating While Intoxicated in Texas

By Peek & Toland on October 23, 2020

Attorney Steve Toland wraps up his 3-part series of Alcohol and Boating Offenses. He explains all the penalty ranges in the video below if you are convicted of boating while intoxicated.

The penalty ranges are very similar to a DWI or driving while intoxicated.

Class B Misdemeanor
The first offense and conviction for boating while intoxicated (BWI) is a class B misdemeanor, as long as your blood alcohol level is under 0.15. Like all class B misdemeanors in Texas, you face up to:

  • $2,000 fine or
  • 2 years of probation or
  • 3 days in a jail sentence

Class A Misdemeanor
A class A misdemeanor is when your blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher on a first-time conviction for BWI or a second conviction. Like all class A misdemeanors in Texas punishable up to

  • $4,000 fine
  • 2-year probation
  • Jail sentence substantially similar to a class B misdemeanor

Third-Degree Felony
Many BWI cases result from an accident that brings law enforcement onto the scene, and then a subsequent arrest is made for BWI. If somebody suffers a serious bodily injury, that’s a third-degree felony in Texas, that’s punishable

  • 2 to 10 years in prison
  • Up to a $10,000 fine or
  • Up to 10 years of probation

Second-Degree Felony
God forbid, if somebody is killed, that is manslaughter in Texas. That’s a second-degree felony, and that’s punishable

  • From 2 years up to 20 years in prison and
  • $10,000 fine or
  • 10 years of probation.

People are also surprised to learn that BWI’s conviction is the same as a DWI in terms of your driver’s license suspension. Therefore, you can have your driver’s license suspended for up to 90 days or more, depending on the number of convictions you have.

Also, if there are subsequent offense for BWI or a felony for BWI can trigger the judge to order you to install an ignition interlock device on your motor vehicle, even though you were driving a boat for your conviction.

That being said, these are very defensible. We’ve talked in past episodes about the importance of hiring an attorney immediately and vigorously attacking these cases. They use what is called Seated Flotation Sobriety Test (SFST). This test is where you sit down, and they check you. As you know, the signs of being on a boat for an extended period are very similar to the signs of intoxication or impairment that somebody could have. Because of that, there is a 32-34% false arrest rate for those field sobriety tests. That’s why you need to attack these vigorously. Therefore, you need to hire an excellent attorney as soon as possible.

If you, or a loved one, face any issues with this or been arrested and charged with BWI, reach out to us right away. We have vast experience in his area, and we’d love to help you.

Posted in Criminal Defense

5 Things to Remember When Drinking Alcohol & Boating

By Peek & Toland on October 16, 2020

We continue our discussion about alcohol and boating. 

Attorney Steve Toland shares five important things to remember when it comes to alcohol and boating. Any time you mix those two together, it comes with a lot of responsibility. Therefore, it’s essential to know the following.

1. Law enforcement can investigate you for BWI if you’re on a boat.

A boat is defined in Texas as a vessel, which is any device that carries one or more people over the water that’s propelled by something other than the ocean currents. 

2. There are broad discretionary powers by law enforcement to pull you over

It’s different than driving a motor vehicle. For boating, there is a broad warrantless exception called the safety check or safety exception. It means that law enforcement can come on your boat and ask you about fire extinguishers, life jackets, and things like that. You need to expect that when you’re out on the water, law enforcement at any point could stop you and ask about the alcohol on board. Nonetheless, you should consult an attorney if you have questions about that, but that’s the general rule to keep in mind.

3. The legal definition of intoxication on a boat, it’s the same as driving. 

Like driving the blood alcohol content, it’s 0.08, or the loss of your mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol or drugs in your system. 

4. Many cases result in a false arrest. 

That is because the signs of impairment for intoxication are substantially similar to the signs people exhibit when they’ve been out on a boat all day. If you think about it, bloodshot, glassy eyes due to the wind, a raspy horsey voice from being out on the water, wobbly sea legs, and then all these things are hard to distinguish between somebody who’s had too much to drink and somebody who’s been on a boat all day. Our advice is always to consult an attorney if you have been wrongfully arrested. 

5. You and the passengers are allowed to drink alcohol. 

You are allowed to drink alcohol on the boat, which is different from a motor vehicle. So, if you’re driving the boat and you’re the captain, you can have an open container, and that’s not against the law. Nevertheless, you can’t be intoxicated. And likewise other people on your boat, your passengers, they can also drink alcohol. Again, they’re allowed to do that, unlike a motor vehicle. 

These are five important things to remember about BWIs. In our last video of the series, we’re going to talk about the penalty ranges and defenses available to you for these types of arrests or charges. 

If you have any questions in this area, you or a loved one have been facing a charge of BWI, alcohol, and boating. Reach out to us. We’re glad to help. 

Posted in Criminal Defense

Can the Police Pull You Over While Boating?

By Peek & Toland on October 9, 2020

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. 

Posted in Criminal Defense

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