About Chambers County
Chambers County occupies an area of 872 square miles in the southeast corner of Texas, of which 31 percent is water. The state of Texas contributes nearly 400 miles of coastline to the Gulf of Mexico and is home to no fewer than 80,000 miles of waterways. The land area is punctuated by several large lakes and a complex system of inland waterways. The Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island form a barrier between a number of bays and the Gulf of Mexico.
As of the census in 2010, Chambers County had a population of 35,096 and a population density of around 59 per square mile. The county seat is Anahuac; other cities in Chambers County include Baytown, Cove, Mont Belvieu, and Old River-Winfree. The unincorporated areas of Stowell and Winnie also fall within the countys administrative area.
Chambers County falls within the Houston-Sugar Land-The Woodlands Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire southeastern corridor of Texas has established a reputation for being the drunk driving capital of the nation. In adjacent Harris County alone, there were 175 fatalities involving drunk drivers in 2012. During the first week of July 2014, out of 50 individuals booked into Chambers County Jail, one-third (15) were arrested for offenses related to driving while intoxicated.
Boating and alcohol
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, most boating fatalities are caused by either people who have been operating a boat while intoxicated or while being a passenger on a boat while intoxicated. If you are pulled over for a BWI or BUI offense, your Chambers County DWI lawyer is equipped to advise you on what to say to the arresting officer, as also what not to say. In general, your DWI attorney in Chambers County might advise you not to say anything at all.
Water is the focus of many recreational activities. In fact, Texans spend so much time on the water that anyone born after Sept. 1, 1993 is required to take a boater education course.
The course covers the rules and regulations on the water, including those that relate to alcohol; specifically, drinking alcohol on a boat and the law regarding open containers.
In the state of Texas, it is illegal to operate a boat and drink alcohol and operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol can lead to suspension of driving privileges. In a law that was put into effect in 2001, a persons drivers license may be suspended if he or she refuses to provide a breath or blood to determine whether or not they are intoxicated and if they are operating a boat with an engine rating of 50 HP or above. DWI layers in ChambersCounty were kept busy in the aftermath of the Independence Day weekend in 2014, when game wardens throughout the state of Texas made 58 arrests for boating under the influence.
For a first offense, your license may be suspended for 180 days. If you have been arrested previously for operating a boat while under the influence, the consequences may be more severe. You also may face jail time and heavy fines. However, contrary to the law governing open containers and road-bound motor vehicles, it is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a boat. While the passengers in your car are not allowed to drink alcohol while you are driving, the passengers on your boat may do so legally.
The Hidden Consequences of Driving or Boating While Intoxicated or Under the Influence
As your DWI lawyer may explain, there are more subtle consequences to being convicted of boating or driving while intoxicated or while under the influence. You may be ordered by the court to:
– Attend an alcohol education program
– Serve anywhere from 200 to 840 hours of community service
– Have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle; or you may have to
– Serve a probationary period
A drunk driving arrest on land or water can cause you problems that extend well beyond the courthouse walls. Not only is it almost certain to increase your insurance premiums, it can prevent you getting a good job, obtaining a firearm, travelling to certain countries or even attending the college or university of your choice. It may be possible for your Chambers County DWI lawyer to have your record expunged; but this requires extensive knowledge of the law and meticulous attention to detail. It is therefore essential to have a DWI attorney in Chambers County advising you as soon as possible after you are pulled over.
Chambers County DWI/BWI Arrests
Baytown fatality possible BUI
A 35-year-old Baytown man was killed and his 19-year-old companion suffered minor facial injuries in July 2012 when a 17-foot white fibreglass bay vessel struck their small aluminium boat in a hit-and-run accident on Cedar Bay near Baytown. It is unclear whether alcohol or drugs were involved, although witnesses commented that the larger boat was moving erratically. Two men were subsequently charged with accident boating death/serious bodily injury and released on $10,000 bond. In May 2014, one of the men pleaded guilty to the 2012 boating death and received a sentence of 10 years deferred probation, while charges against the other man were dropped.
Baytown DWI with a child passenger under 15
A 38-year-old Baytown man was arrested and released the same day on a $10,000 bond. This is a state felony and carries a potential jail sentence of up to two years, a possible $10,000 fine and a 180-day license suspension. A criminal defense lawyer in Chambers County will fight the charges aggressively. The goal is to seek a dismissal or obtain a trial acquittal. Other good options may be available as well.