Boating Under the Influence in Florida
Arrested for a BUI? Let Our Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers Fight for You!
Although you can be charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle in an intoxicated state, you can also face criminal penalties for operating a boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like DUI, the blood alcohol content (BAC) as which impairment is presumed is 0.08 percent or higher.
If you have been charged with boating under the influence (BUI) in Florida, our Brevard County criminal defense attorneys at Kernan & Austin, LLC can evaluate your case and determine the best possible way to proceed. With more than 20 years of experience, we have a thorough understanding of Florida criminal law to help you navigate through the complexities of the criminal justice system.
Florida BUI Definition & Penalties
In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law defines “vessel” as a boat, watercraft, barge, airboat, and even a seaplane on the water. An individual can be convicted of BUI for operating a vessel while “affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired” by alcohol, drugs, or the combination of the two, or having a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater.
A first-offense BUI is often considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months and fines of up to $1,000. Additionally, mandatory conditions of probation include 50 hours of community service and 10 days of impoundment or immobilization of the defendant’s vessel.
If the offender’s BAC is at least .15 percent, then the jail sentence is increased to nine months. Furthermore, the fines are increased to $2,000.
If the BUI offense caused an accident involving property damage or minor injuries to another person, then it is a first-degree misdemeanor. This type of misdemeanor results in a maximum jail sentence of one year and fines of up to $1,000.
If the BUI offense caused an accident involving serious injury to another, it is a third-degree felony that is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years and fines of up to $5,000.
If a BUI offense caused an accident involving the death of another, it is considered a first- or second-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, while a second-degree felony results in a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Fines for both felonies are up to $10,000.
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The consequences of BUI are significant. Fortunately, our experienced legal team can protect your rights and future throughout the entire legal process. We can assess your case and figure out all of your available legal options to either obtain a not-guilty verdict, get your entire case dismissed, or get your charges substantially reduced. Let us fight for you immediately!
Contact us and request a free initial consultation today.