Jacksonville BUI Attorney
Boating Under the Influence Charges in Florida
If a boater is arrested for boating under the influence, they can be charge with a BUI. The consequences for boating under the influence (BUI) can be as severe as what occurs in a DUI case. Florida is known for its wide variety of boating options. Oceans, bays, rivers, lakes and tributaries all provide people in Florida a variety of boating options. Fishing, cruising, water skiing, jet skiing and other boating activities go hand in hand with the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
However, having consumed alcohol does not mean that someone driving the boat is impaired or drunk. Nevertheless, because Florida is a boater’s paradise there are a lot of people on the water. Problems can result when someone captaining a boat has consumed too much alcohol. For this reason, Florida and federal law enforcement agencies that patrol the waterways have made the enforcement of BUI a priority.
Being charged with BUI is considered a crime just like DUI. Convictions for BUI charges could result in jail, probation, community service, fines, and other forms of punishment not to mention a permanent criminal record. Further, impoundment and forfeiture of boats, loss of boating privileges, or captain’s licenses and even driving privileges can result.
What are the Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Florida?
It is not against the law to drink alcohol while operating a boat. Nevertheless, enforcement officers can charge someone with BUI if your breath or blood alcohol level is .08 or above and/or if you are too impaired by alcohol or drugs to operate a boat or personal watercraft safely.
The penalties escalate for:
- BUI manslaughter*
- BUI causing serious bodily injury*
- Repeat offenses (prior BUI or DUI)
- Breath or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .15
- BUI with minors aboard
- BUI causing property damage
*A BUI accident resulting in death or serious injury are prosecuted as felony crimes and can carry prison sentences of 5 to 30 years.
Although BUI and DUI may be similar there are important differences between the BUI laws and DUI laws and there are differences in how the cases are investigated. BUI defense attorney Mitch Stone knows the specific BUI laws and understands how to defend these cases. He has successfully challenged the prosecution's evidence and the procedures of law enforcement officers from FWC, US Fish and Wildlife, US Coast Guard and other officers involved in the prosecution of these cases.
Other boating offenses we handle include:
- Reckless boating
- Unregistered vessel
- Equipment violations
- Boating in unauthorized areas
- No-wake zone and right-of-way violations
The BUI Experience You Need
Mitch Stone will do everything legally possible to help clients avoid a BUI conviction. He understands the importance of achieving a favorable result because a BUI Conviction can be treated as a prior offense for someone later arrested for DUI in a motor vehicle. Likewise, a DUI conviction can enhance a boating under the influence charge and result in more severe punishment if convicted.
Mitchell A. Stone, P.A. has represented clients arrested or cited on the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River, the Intercoastal Waterway and other waterways in the First Coast region. Call our experienced boating and FWC violation lawyer at (904) 263-5005 for a free consultation.