The punishments for boating under the influence (BUI/BWI) can be as severe as for driving drunk down the freeway. Florida law enforcement has also turned up the heat on fish and game violations and boating activities that endanger people or wildlife.

BUI and boating offenses are not merely a "ticket." They are criminal violations that could lead to jail, a felony or misdemeanor record, steep fines, impoundment and forfeiture of your boat, loss of boating privileges, or loss of hunting and fishing privileges.

Learn Your Rights And Protect Them
The criminal defense attorney at Mitchell A. Stone, P.A., serves clients in the Jacksonville area and coastal communities of Northeast Florida. We offer a confidential free consultation.

Boating Under The Influence

It is not against the law to drink while operating a boat. But like drunk driving, you can be charged with BUI if (a) your blood alcohol level is .08 or (b) if you are deemed too impaired to handle your boat or personal watercraft safely.

The penalties escalate for:

  • BUI causing serious bodily injury*
  • BUI manslaughter*
  • Repeat offenses (prior BUI or DUI)
  • BAC of .15 or greater
  • BUI with children or youths under age 18 aboard
  • BUI causing property damage

*Causing serious injury or fatality while boating under the influence are felony crimes carrying prison time of up to 15 years.

There are important differences between the boating while intoxicated laws and standard DUI laws. Our defense attorney knows the BUI laws and your rights, and has successfully challenged the prosecution's evidence and the conduct of local law enforcement or coast guard officers.

We do everything legally possible to help our clients avoid a BUI conviction, which is treated as a prior offense if you are ever arrested for DUI in a motor vehicle. (Likewise, if you have had a DUI in the past, boating under the influence will be punished more severely.)

Other Boating Offenses

  • Reckless boating
  • Unregistered vessel
  • Equipment violations
  • Boating in unauthorized areas
  • No-wake zone and right-of-way violations

Fish And Game Violations • Disturbing Aquatic Wildlife Or Habitat

We have represented boaters, fishermen and hunters prosecuted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for fish and game violations, or by the Coast Guard in offshore waters:

  • Fishing without a license or out of season
  • Fishing or hunting after license suspended
  • Hunting too close to feeders
  • Importing endangered species (Lacy Act Violations)
  • Exceeding bag limits or possessing commercial quantities
  • Poaching or trafficking in off-limit species
  • Harvesting coral or damaging reefs
  • Manatee zone boating violations
  • Harassing or killing a manatee, alligator or other protected animal

These offenses can carry stiff penalties, fines and forfeiture of fishing and hunting privileges, and some offenses can result in felony convictions, and prison or jail sentences. It is critical to understand the possible consequences before paying a fine or pleading guilty. If you are charged with a criminal offense, Mitch Stone is one of the few lawyers in Florida knowledgeable in this area of the law. He has represented people charged in State and Federal courts for such violations.

The BUI Experience You Need

Mitchell A. Stone, P.A., has represented clients arrested or cited in the Atlantic Ocean, on St. Johns River and Crystal River, and other waterways in the First Coast region. Call our experienced boating and FWC violation lawyer at 904-396-3335 for a free consultation.