It is not uncommon to drink while on a boat ride in Florida; however, when a couple drinks turn into consuming more than what you can handle, you could find yourself boating under the influence. While it is not illegal to consume alcohol while on a boat or operating one if you are of legal age, it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. Boating under the influence (BUI) is like drinking under the influence (DUI) and the state of Florida takes BUIs just as seriously. Today, we go over what happens if you get a BUI in Florida.
Florida BUI Laws
According to Florida law, any individual operating a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is considered boating under the influence. The blood alcohol concentration limit (BAC) for a boater over the age of 21 is 0.08%. An individual under the age of 21 cannot operate a boat with any alcohol in his/her system.
You can also be charged with a DUI on a boat if you are under the influence of drugs, including controlled substances such as prescription medication. It would be advisable to be careful when taking any kind of substance while operating a boat.
Is It Legal to be Stopped on the Water for a Suspected BUI?
You can legally be pulled over while in a boat by city or state police, the coast guard, and/or fish and wildlife officers if you are suspected to be boating under the influence. The officers will need probable cause to be able to do so. However, certain officers can stop you on the water without such cause to perform random safety checks.
What Happens When You Get Pulled Over for a Suspected BUI
Florida has implied consents laws meaning that if you are stopped for boating under the influence, an officer has the legal right to ask you to take a breath test. You might be fined for refusing.
You are not required to submit a filed sobriety test or a BAC test unless there is a valid warrant. If you are asked to submit to these types of tests, you can refuse them and ask to speak with a lawyer.
Consequences for Receiving a BUI
If you were operating a boat with a BAC over 0.08% or impaired by drugs you could face a fine of $500 to $1,000 and 6 months of jail time for a first-time offense. A second BUI results in a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and the possibility of having to serve 9 months in jail. The punishment for both offenses will be more severe if your BAC was over 0.15%. If you are convicted of a third BUI within 10 years of a previous conviction, then your offense is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A fourth or subsequent BUI always results in a third-degree felony. You may also have to attend alcohol or substance abuse treatment program classes if the court considers if appropriate.
Consult with Our Firm Today
The consequences of a BUI include potential jail time, which is why it is imperative to secure the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Our firm has the experience and knowledge you would expect and has helped numerous clients drop or reduce their BUI charges. Secure our counsel today.
Book a consultation with our firm online or call us at (727) 245-9009 today.