Florida has a very active boating and marine culture that people partake in year round. However, what many of Florida boaters do not know is that boating, much like driving, is a privilege, not a right, and is subject to very strict sobriety standards. If you are stopped by the police, the Coast Guard, or even Fish and Wildlife while operating a boat while intoxicated, it is likely you will be charged with boating under the influence (BUI).
Almost all the same laws that apply to DUIs also apply to BUIs. Under Florida Statute 327.35, a boater can be charged with BUI if their BAC is 0.08% or higher. Boats can be stopped if it or its occupants display probable cause and whoever has physical control of the vessel is subject to implied consent (mandatory blood alcohol content chemical testing). Boaters who refuse a BAC test will incur a $500 penalty.
Just like DUI offenses, the penalties for BUI become more severe for each subsequent offense. The consequences for boating under the influence in Florida can include:
- First offense: up to 6 months in jail and $1000 in fines
- Second offense: up to 9 months in jail and $2000 in fines
- Third offense (within 10 years): up to one year in prison and $2,500 in fines
Additional penalties, such as community service, probation, substance abuse treatment, and the impoundment of your boat, can also result from these multiple charges. Suspension of your boating license, however, is not a BUI penalty and one of the few key differences between DUIs and BUIs.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a BUI, then we invite you to call us at Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law today. We have a dedicated Miami-Dade BUI lawyer ready to offer you a free case evaluation.