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Boating Under The Influence In Florida

Operating any type of motor vehicle when under the influence of drugs and alcohol can have serious legal repercussions and potentially deadly consequences.

Although not given as much attention as drunk driving, operating a boat while under the influence is every bit as dangerous — in some respects more dangerous — than driving under the influence.

With this in mind, the state of Florida has a number of laws which pertain to boating under the influence.

Boating under the influence is a serious offense. Depending on the details of the incident, boating under the influence can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge. It can be punished by stiff fines, community service, and even jail time.

If you or a loved one are facing boating under the influence charges, it’s essential to enlist the assistance of a qualified defense attorney experienced in

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Have You Been Charged With DUI On A Boat In Florida?

Although Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charges are quite similar to DUI charges issued for drivers and even referred to as “Boat DUIs” or “DUI on a Boat,”  there are some essential differences.

Primarily, unlike a DUI, a BUI charge does not have any effect on your driver’s license. 

If you’re facing a BUI charge in the state of Florida, the best route to minimizing the consequences is to seek legal representation from a lawyer experienced in the defense of boating under the influence charges.

With a strong legal defense on your side, you’ll be able to navigate the legal system effectively, prepare a strong legal argument in your defense, and potentially minimize charges and sentencing — or even beat the charges resulting in an acquittal. 

Florida Boating Under The Influence Laws

In the state of Florida, it is illegal to operate a watercraft such as a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Being “under the influence” means that an individual’s “normal faculties are impaired” by drugs or alcohol, or their Breath Alcohol Concentration is .08% or higher.

If you are found to be operating “any vessel capable of being used as a means of transportation on water” while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can be charged with a BUI.

What Are The Penalties For Impaired Boating (BUI) Charges?

Penalties for a BUI charge can vary depending on the details of the specific incident, the offender’s past charges, and complicating factors such as property damage, injuries, or death.

For first time offenders, most BUI offenses are a misdemeanor which can result in up to $2,000 in fines and as much as a year in jail.

If the incident involved serious injuries to another person, it becomes a felony charge with penalties ranging up to five years in jail and $5,000 fines. If the incident involved the death of another person, it becomes a first or second degree felony punishable by as much as 15 years in prison or $10,000 in fines.

For offenders with multiple BUI or DUI offenses, these penalties increase substantially for each subsequent BUI or DUI charge.

Looking for an experienced defense attorney to tackle your BUI case?

Schedule a free consultation today. Don’t leave your freedom up to chance!

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With Your BUI Charge

While many BUI cases might seem like a straightforward affair, for those with a keen understanding of the law there are always many options.

A capable defense attorney with experience defending against BUI charges will be capable of helping you minimize the stress and potential consequences of the charges.

Your attorney will be your go to source for any questions about the case. They will provide you with legal advice and information pertinent to your case. With their help, you will move swiftly and efficiently through the legal system.

Some cases can be dismissed or acquitted if the evidence is strong enough. Even if you are convicted, your defense attorney will be able to negotiate the best possible deal for plea bargains or argue in your favor to minimize sentencing.

The consequences of a BUI charge can follow you for the rest of your life. Don’t leave your future in the hands of any but the most qualified and trusted attorney.

Want to see what we can do for you? Schedule a free consultation today.

Boating Under The Influence FAQs

Is a BUI the same as a DUI?
No. Although DUIs are sometimes considered in BUI cases, a BUI and a DUI are distinct and separate charges. A BUI does not have the same impact on a driver’s license like a DUI.
Is a BUI a felony?

In some circumstances, a BUI can be a felony charge. Depending on the circumstances of the incident and the background of the offender, a BUI charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Felony charges are usually applied in cases which result in severe injury or death.

Can you get a BUI on a jetski?

Yes. In the state of Florida, you can get a BUI charge for operating “any vessel capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.” This definition includes jetskis.


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