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Can I be charged with drunk boating in Florida?

Man Drinking Alcohol While Driving a BoatWhat’s a day on the water without a beer or two? Many Miami boaters feel this way, but this thinking can get them into trouble. Just like on dry land, operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is illegal and the consequences can be serious if you are caught. Just because you were ticketed on the water doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the charge seriously. Understand the charges you are facing and contact an experienced boating under the influence (BUI) attorney if you are arrested.

What Is Boating Under the Influence?

Florida’s waterways are patrolled by both local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. They have the authority to stop your boat and board it if they suspect that you are driving while intoxicated. The statute prohibiting drunk boating is similar to the one prohibiting drunk driving. Under Florida Statute 327.35, if you are operating a vessel and:

  • are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substance to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired
  • have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood
  • have a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath

It’s important to note that, under the statute, you can be charged with a BUI if the police decide that your “normal faculties are impaired,” even if you don’t have a BAC of .08 or higher.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer?

The penalties for a drunk boating conviction are similar to those for a drunk driving conviction. You face fines and jail time if you are found guilty. If you cause a crash and someone is injured or killed, you face felony charges. An arrest for boating under the influence should be treated just like a DUI. Call attorney Danny Izquierdo to discuss your defense options as soon as possible after you are ticketed. It might be possible to get the charges reduced or dropped, or to argue for a lighter sentence given your unique circumstances. Don’t leave your fate to chance. Call the Izquierdo Law Firm today.