If you have been arrested for BUI, the most important thing on your list of priorities is to speak with a BUI attorney in Miami (you can request a copy of my consumer guide filled with information on DUI/BUI, including what to consider when choosing a DUI/BUI Lawyer by clicking below).
With beautiful year-round weather and plentiful waterways, Florida is home to many outdoor activities that provide leisure and enjoyment for residents and visitors alike. There are more registered recreational vessels in Florida than there are in any other state in the nation. There are also more boating accidents in Florida than anywhere else in the United States.
Unfortunately, because boating is one of the most common outdoor leisure activities in Miami, that means that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is fairly commonplace. You can be charged with operating a vessel in Florida’s waterways while under the influence of alcohol or drugs much like you can be for operating a motor vehicle under the influence along Florida’s roadways. Therefore, you can be found guilty of BUI if you are operating a vessel if while your normal faculties are impaired or you have a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
Unlike DUI, which is covered in section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, BUI appears under section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes.
The penalties in Florida for boating under the influence, upon a first conviction include:
- Fines ranging between $500 and $1,000
- Fines ranging between $2,000 and $4,000 with a breath alcohol level of .15 or above or with minor children on the boat
- Up to six (6) months in jail
- Up to 12 months in jail with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or if there are minor children on the boat
- Mandatory monthly reporting probation for up to one (1) year and mandatory attendance in substance abuse courses/counseling. (Note: jail and probation must not exceed one (1) year when combined).
- Mandatory 50 community service hours
- 10-day boat impoundment
BUI v. DUI
Boating under the influence and driving under the influence are very similar offenses with similar issues and elements. However, the main difference between DUI and BUI is that your license will NOT be suspended when you are arrested for BUI. However, you will be facing criminal charges for BUI and may face additional charge for second or subsequent refusal if you have previously refused to submit to testing in the past.
What Happens If I Refuse To Submit To Testing?
Reusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test when arrested for BUI, you will be issued a $500.00 fine. You have 30 days to request a hearing once you are issued the fine. Once you request the hearing to challenge the fine, payment will be postponed and you can then argue to the hearing officer to overturn the fine by challenging the legality of the arrest and the procedures followed during the investigation.
Underage Drinking While Boating
Florida administrative suspension laws are tough on those who are under the age of 21. Florida has a zero-tolerance policy when a person is under the legal drinking age of 21 in that you are not allowed to operate a vehicle or boat with a breath alcohol level above .02. When an underage (under 21) boater is stopped and the officer has probable cause to believe that you are under 21 years of age and are operating the boat while under the influence of alcohol, the officer will request that you submit to a breath test.
If you refuse, you have to be warned by the officer that, by refusing to take the breath test, you will have to complete 50 community service hours before you are allowed to operate a boat again. In addition, if convicted of DUI you will have to complete a boating safety course in order to operate a boat again.
How Can I Help?
I pride myself in focusing my practice on the defense BUI and DUI cases that affect good people. Each month, I only accept a limited number of cases in South Florida to ensure that you receive the Personalized, Aggressive and Compassionate representation you deserve. I do not believe in accepting every BUI and DUI case that walks through the door in order to have a volume practice and simply drive revenue.
Immediately after meeting with you, I will begin by exploring defenses and analyzing the client’s case from every possible angle. Together we will formulate a plan based on your goals, needs and potential collateral consequences to ensure that they receive personalized, aggressive and compassionate representation en route to defending their BUI.