Bui Charge In Florida

Bui Charge In Florida

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Charge in Florida

In Florida, you can be arrested and charged with BUI if you operate or are in charge of a vessel upon the water while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You also have to agree to take a breath test when requested by an officer.A skilled criminal defense attorney can immediately protect your legal rights and begin to work on a strategy for a successful outcome to your case.

Florida Boating Under the Influence Penalties

Florida’s beaches, rivers, and lakes provide an ideal setting for recreational boating. However, drinking and boating do not mix well and can lead to a BUI arrest. Whether a boater is operating a motorboat, speedboat, sailboat, paddleboat, or even a canoe, they can be arrested for BUI if they are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

A BUI conviction can carry penalties that are similar to those of a DUI. The penalties may include fines, jail time, and license suspension. Additionally, you may have to attend alcohol and drug counseling classes and fulfill other reporting requirements.

As with DUI, if you are arrested for BUI, it’s important to make your first phone call to an attorney or have someone contact one on your behalf. Waiting to hire an attorney may lead to jail time, a ruined reputation, and limitations on your legal rights. The state of Florida treats BUIs seriously because they are a major cause of boating deaths in the Sunshine State. In fact, Florida leads the nation in yearly boating deaths. For the first conviction, the crime of BUI is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, 50 hours community service, and vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 30 days.

Florida BUI Laws

Florida is the nation’s most popular boating destination, and the state’s sunny weather and water-based recreational activities often go hand in hand with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Whether a person is sailing, fishing, jet skiing, or simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean, boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious crime with potentially severe penalties.

BUI laws are as strict as those against DUI, with a per se legal limit for alcohol of 0.08% and a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. A boater who is convicted of BUI can face fines, license suspension, jail time, community service requirements, and other restrictions.

Unlike the DUI case, police don’t need probable cause to stop a vessel for safety checks. However, if an officer smells alcohol onboard the boat and suspects that someone is under the influence, they can pull everyone off the vessel for tests.

If a person refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test after a BUI arrest, they will face a $500 civil penalty that must be paid to the state within 30 days. A person who has a prior DUI conviction will have their driver’s license suspended if they refuse to take the test, as well.

Florida BUI Charge and Penalties

The state of Florida has strict laws regarding the operation of boats. The state also has harsh criminal penalties for BUI violations. A person convicted of BUI in Florida faces jail time, fines, community service, alcohol courses, and mandatory probation.

It is important to hire a skilled Florida BUI defense attorney. The lawyer will use his or her knowledge of Florida law and evidence gathering to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case, thereby increasing the chance that the charges will be dropped or reduced. For example, determining who was operating the boat or vessel may be a point of contention in some cases. Additionally, if the BUI involved an accident that caused property damage or injury, it could be elevated to an “aggravated” charge, which results in more severe penalties.

BUI convictions can have serious consequences on a person’s personal and professional life. To avoid a conviction, the accused individual should contact a Tampa BUI attorney immediately. The attorney will fight to get the charges thrown out, including challenging the arresting officer’s actions during the field sobriety or breath test. In some instances, the attorney will be able to demonstrate that the testing procedures were not followed properly.

Probation and Mandatory Counseling/Treatment

Florida law provides probation officers with a number of options to meet the needs of defendants who have mental health issues. These options include requiring that a defendant undergo an evaluation and treatment, agree to continue with specific treatments, or commit to ongoing monitoring. These treatment options may be a condition of probation or parole. In addition, many counties have established health care courts for defendants who have a diagnosed mental illness that likely contributed to their crime(s).

It is important to understand the difference between mandatory and voluntary treatment. A mandatory treatment requires that a person participate in a program and is often accompanied by a court-ordered co-payment. This is an effective deterrent against a willful violation of probation.

Involuntary treatment, on the other hand, is not a deterrent and does not require participation. The underlying supervision philosophy of proportional intervention calls for a probation officer to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s risk and needs. To do so, a probation officer should consult with a treatment provider to determine the modality and intensity of treatment.

Florida Aggravated BUI Charges and Penalties

Florida’s BUI laws are a lot stricter than most people realize. The same laws that apply to driving under the influence also apply to boating under the influence. At what breath alcohol level would a boater be considered “under the influence” in Florida? The state police, marine patrol and other law enforcement officers are out in force on Tampa Bay area waterways looking for people who operate a boat or manipulate any other vessel while their Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) exceeds 0.08%.

These rules apply to any type of vessel, from rowboats to yachts to commercial vessels. They also apply to personal watercraft and even some types of aircraft.

It is important to have a strong Florida BUI Defense Lawyer on your side when accused of this crime. Like DUI charges, these cases can be based on the word of an officer and are often a case of “he said, she said.” Without a knowledgeable lawyer, your chances of having all criminal charges dismissed are slim.

A first-offense conviction for BUI can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. Convictions for a second BUI within 10 years of a previous offense can carry higher fines, and you might be required to install an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles. You may be required to undergo an alcohol or drug abuse treatment curriculum, attend classes and fulfill monthly reporting requirements.

Penalties for Aggravated BUIs

Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Florida BUI offense may be elevated to an aggravated offense, which means harsher penalties. For example, if you cause a serious accident that results in great bodily harm, this is considered BUI manslaughter, a second degree felony, and could lead to jail time of up to fifteen years.

The law defines “great bodily harm” as anything that is not slight, trivial or minor, such as a broken neck, a severed arm, extensive bruising and scarring, cuts on the head and eyes, or other serious injuries. It is important to have the best possible attorney on your side in these cases.

Your attorney will work to challenge any evidence collected by police officers, including the accuracy of breath test readings and the reasonableness of a stop or search. Additionally, your Sarasota BUI defense lawyer will review all aspects of your case for any constitutional violations, such as failure to read you your Miranda rights or eliciting incriminating statements during an interrogation. It is important to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible so he or she can start working on your best possible outcome for your case.

Successfully Defending a Florida BUI Case

Florida’s pristine beaches and waters attract tourists and residents alike who enjoy the sunshine, water-based recreational activities, and the consumption of alcohol. However, boating under the influence presents serious risks not just to those operating the vessel but also to others on the water. This is why BUIs are taken seriously.

Just like DUIs, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person operated a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The definition of “operate” is slightly different for BUIs: It includes the act of being in charge or command of a vessel. So, even if you aren’t driving the boat but have stepped away from the helm and are sitting at the dock, you can still be charged with BUI in Florida.


While prosecutors will not let up in their pursuit of those who operate boats or vessels while under the influence, it is possible to defend against a BUI charge with the help of an experienced attorney. A successful defense could mean avoiding jail time, probation, fines, a permanent criminal record, and other penalties that can have a detrimental effect on your career and private life. The first step is to contact an experienced Florida BUI defense lawyer to discuss your case if you have been charged.

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