A picturesque scene on the water can quickly turn into a nightmare if alcohol or drugs impair the judgment of a boat operator. The consequences of a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) offense can be far-reaching, affecting not only your freedom, but also the lives of those around you. With knowledge as your anchor, you can navigate the legal complexities of BUI with confidence, understanding your rights and the potential repercussions.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel has helped Floridians fight boating under the influence charges for over 30 years. When you work with Mr. Gabriel, you can depend on him to handle your Boating DUI case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his triple-decade career.
Everything You Should Know About a Florida BUI
Whether you are a seasoned boat owner or a first-time enthusiast, understanding the implications of a BUI is essential to ensure your safety and avoid legal troubles. Here’s what you need to know.
Defining Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
In Florida, Boating Under the Influence refers to operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both to the extent that the operator’s normal capabilities are impaired or has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
Penalties and Consequences
Florida takes BUIs seriously, and the penalties can be severe. Offenders can face fines, probation, community service, and even jail time, particularly for repeat offenders or in cases of serious accidents resulting in injury or property damage. Additionally, boating privileges can be suspended or revoked, and your license may be affected as well. Refusing a breath, blood, or urine test can also lead to administrative penalties.
Implied Consent Law
Similar to driving a motor vehicle, Florida has an “implied consent” law for boaters. By operating a vessel on Florida waters, you automatically give consent to be tested for alcohol or drugs if a law enforcement officer suspects you are boating under the influence. Refusing to take the test can lead to immediate consequences, making it vital to understand your rights and obligations in such situations.
In specific scenarios, penalties for BUIs can be enhanced. If your BAC is measured at 0.15% or higher, or if there is a minor (someone under 18) on board the vessel at the time of the offense, you may face more severe punishment. Such situations demand even greater vigilance and responsible behavior on the water.
BUI and Boating Accidents
When a boating accident involves a BUI, the consequences can be exponentially worse. If the incident leads to serious bodily injury, property damage, or the death of another person, you could face felony charges.
Importance of Boater Safety Courses
To promote safe boating practices, Florida law requires anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, to complete a NASBLA-approved boater safety course before operating a personal watercraft (PWC). These courses educate boaters about the risks associated with BUI and emphasize responsible boating behavior.
Were You Charged With Boating Under The Influence in Florida?
BUIs can have far-reaching consequences, affecting your freedom, finances, and reputation. If you find yourself facing a BUI charge, seeking professional legal representation is crucial to safeguard your rights and build a strong defense.
Don’t let a BUI tarnish your maritime adventures or jeopardize your future. Start with a free consultation today by calling Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575. You can also complete an online contact form to learn more.