Living in or visiting the great state of Florida means you’re likely to either own or operate a boat at one point. It’s important you realize that there are boat regulations you must follow including refraining from drinking too much while operating a boat. If you operate a boat while impaired, you could be arrested for boating under the influence and face penalties similar to driving a car under the influence.
If you or someone you know has been charged with boating under the influence (BUI), it’s our suggestion you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. The consequences for boating under the influence are incredibly serious and can lead to issues with housing, applying for a loan, and employment. For these reasons, we recommend hiring excellent legal counsel to fight for your rights.
People who are charged with boating under the influence face serious penalties. If convicted, you could be required to pay huge fines, take required classes, perform community service hours, and even spend time behind bars. That is why it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in court if you are charged with boating under the influence.
You can be prepared for what might happen next by contacting the attorneys at Terrezza Law. We can set up an appointment and answer all your legal questions thoroughly. We represent people throughout the greater Escambia and Santa Rosa County areas including Pensacola, Milton and Navarre. Call us now at (850) 764-5291 to set up your first consultation free of charge.
Overview of Boating Under the Influence
Similar to how most driving under the influence (DUI) charges occur, it’s likely that a Boating under the influence (BUI) arrest comes after you are stopped by law enforcement. However, it’s important to understand that there are drastically different standards police officers must follow stop a boat vs. an automobile. For DUI automobile stops officers are required to have probable cause or reasonable suspicion you’ve committed a crime or a traffic violation before pulling you over. For example, you could be pulled over for DUI because of a broken taillight or violating a traffic rule. On the water, the rules are different because an officer can stop your boat without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Florida’s law allows officers to conduct random inspections of boats for compliance with fishing regulations, required safety equipment, and registration.
Law enforcement’s blanket authority to stop boats on the water makes it difficult to defend someone accused of BUI. This is because it is harder for a defense attorney to argue evidence was unlawfully obtained and should not be used in court. However, the prosecution is still required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating the boat while impaired and there could be an alternative explanation for behavior the officer thinks is a sign of impairment. The symptoms for dehydration resemble the signs of intoxication including fatigue, wobbly legs and blood-shot eyes. It’s common for police officers to have suspect you’re BUI when in reality you are simply dehydrated.
The consequences for boating under the influence are similar to DUI. If you are convicted of BUI in Florida, you will face the following penalties:
Penalties for first BUI:
Penalties for second BUI:
Penalties for those convicted of BUI with a passenger under the age of 18 years or a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of .15 or higher will include the following:
Boating Regulations in FL – Visit the official website for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to learn more about boating regulations in Florida. Access the site to learn more about what a boat’s necessary requirements, restrictions and other important information.
Florida DUI Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida’s state statues and court procedures. Access the site to learn more about DUI offenses, penalties, how they measure BAC and possible diversion programs for offenders.
The penalties for boating under the influence are too serious to take lightly. If convicted, you could be stuck with expensive fines, required substance or alcohol abuse classes, community service and even time behind bars. If you or someone you know has been arrested for boating under the influence, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney.
It can be difficult to find excellent legal representation. That is why we want to recommend you contact John Terrezza at Terrezza Law. Attorney Terrezza has been practicing criminal defense for years and has a special focus in DUI and BUI law.
You can set up your first appointment with him now at Terrezza Law. During your consultation, John Terrezza will analyze your case and inform you of your legal options. His office is located in Pensacola Florida, but Mr. Terrezza practices throughout the greater Escambia County and Santa Rosa areas including Milton, Gulf Breeze and Navarre.