In Florida, recreational boating and alcohol consumption appear to go hand-in-hand. Many boaters in the State of Florida enjoy cruising along Florida's coastline and freshwater lakes. The Memorial Day weekend holiday kicks off boating season all across the United States. The months of May through August see the number of boaters increase substantially, which results in an increased number of boating accidents involving injury and death. To combat this, law enforcement officers throughout the State of Florida step up their visibility, random boat inspections, and BUI arrests. If you own a boat and plan to operate your boat, it's best that you do not consume any alcohol. The Florida Legislature has expressed do you boaters that they designate a "designated boat operator" to keep everyone safe on Florida waterways.

In the State of Florida, the State's DUI and BUI laws are quite similar. Although having an alcoholic beverage while boating is not illegal in Florida, the laws and penalties for voting under the influence of alcohol are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol in the State of Florida.  

When an individual has been arrested for BUI, he or she will Will not be released from jail until certain criteria are met. The arrestee's BAC must reach 0.05 or lower, eight hours have passed since their arrest, or the individual has regained their normal faculties.

According to Florida statutes section 327.35, Boating Under the Influence or BUI is defined as A boat operator who is operating a vessel while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a controlled substance, or a prescription medication. A boat operator is deemed "under the influence" when, according to Florida BUI laws, when the Operator's "normal faculties "are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Florida's DUI and BUI jury instructions provide context to the legal terms "normal faculties "and "impaired. "The word "impaired "means the Operator's ability to operate the boat is diminished in any meaningful way. "Normal faculties" are those abilities individuals use in their everyday lives to talk, walk, make appropriate judgments, respond to emergency situations, judge distances correctly, and perform typical daily functions.

Florida's BUI Statutes permit prosecuting attorneys to prove the votes. The operator is guilty of providing evidence of a chemical test from a biological sample taken from the defendant. Law enforcement officers are permitted to take a breath sample or blood sample to prove that the boat operator was voting under the influence. If the boat operator's blood alcohol percentage is found to be 0.08 g of alcohol or higher per every 100 mL of blood, he or she is over the legal limit. Likewise, if the defendant provides a breath sample, and that sample returns a result of 0.08 g of alcohol or more per every 210 L of breath, he or she is over the legal limit.

  • A first offense is why conviction is punished with up to six months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000. A second DUI conviction is punished with up to nine months in jail and a fine between $1,000 in $2,000.  
  • A third BUI conviction might be charged as a third-degree felony if the offense occurred within ten years of a previous BUI or DUI conviction. A third BUI conviction outside the ten-year look-back window is punished as a second offense in the State of Florida.  
  • A fourth or subsequent BUI is charged as a second-degree felony in the State of Florida.

Any driving under the influence convictions on a boat operator's driver's license is considered a previous offense in a BUI or DUI criminal case. 

Florida also imposes enhanced penalties for both operators who return chemical test results that are 0.15 BAC or higher. In addition, if the boat operator is found boating while under the influence and he has passengers aboard who are 18 years of age or younger, he or she will face more severe criminal charges. The punishments for either crime include a jail sentence of up to nine months for a first conviction and up to one year for a second conviction. Also, the court could impose a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 for the first offense and $2000-$4000 for a second offense, and no less than $4,000 for any additional offense.  

When an individual has been convicted of BY, in addition to jail time and fines, the court will impose at least one year of probation. During this probationary period, the probationer must report to his or her probation officer at least once per month. In addition, the probationer must attend and complete a substance abuse treatment program as recommended by the substance abuse service provider. 

BUI Boat Impoundment Punishments in Florida

If a person is convicted of a first offense BUI, he or she will be required to complete 50 hours of community service throughout the one year of their probation. In addition, the court will impound the offender's vessel for ten days.

For a second offense within the past five years, The offender, if found guilty of BUI, will receive a minimum of 10 days in jail. In addition, the judge will impound the offender's vessel for a minimum of 30 days.

A third BUI conviction within ten years requires the offender to serve a minimum of 30 days, and the offender's vote will be impounded for no less than 90 days.

According to Florida's BUI Statutes, time spent at a drug or alcohol treatment program prior to a conviction of BUI could be deemed "time served "and applied to the reduction of a jail sentence by the judge.  

Musca Law’s New Port Richey BUI Defense Lawyers are Ready to Help 

If you are facing charges for boating under the influence, our New Port Richey defense attorneys are ready to help you launch the strongest defense case possible. The repercussions of a BUI charge can negatively impact a person’s life for years to come. That is why it is critical that you contact a seasoned New Port Richey BUI defense attorney who can help you fight for your legal rights and interests.

Contact Musca Law to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. Call (727) 480-9675 to schedule a complimentary consultation and to learn how our experienced New Port Richey BUI defense lawyers can fight for you.

Musca Law

8520 Government Dr STE 5
New Port Richey, FL 34654
Phone: (727) 480-9675
Hours: Open now:  Open 24 hours
788G+GQ New Port Richey, Florida