AV Preeminent
The Florida Bar

Boating Under the Influence

Having a few beers while getting a tan out on the boat in Fort Lauderdale sounds like a great holiday weekend. Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore has seen enough sunny afternoons turned sour, however, to urge caution. Broward County officials have cracked down on Boating Under the Influence, a crime that many people do not even know exists. A BUI arrest is even more probable as the south Florida Fort Lauderdale/Broward/Fort Lauderdale-Dade metropolitan area sees an increase in seasonal residents and tourists visiting for the winter. Getting arrested for Boating Under the Influence probably never factored into your relaxing plans, but you should consider that possibility when drinking and operating a boat. If you are arrested or charged for Boating Under the Influence, contact our experienced Broward DUI lawyer.

In Broward County and the rest of Florida, the BUI laws are very similar to those for DUI. Like DUI, the blood alcohol content at which impairment is presumed is 0.08. Also like DUI, you can be arrested for BUI even if the engine is not running. Sitting in the driver’s seat while intoxicated is sufficient. And as with DUI, you need not even have the keys in the ignition. In Florida, you can be arrested for BUI so long as you have “actual physical control” of the vessel. The broad language of the BUI statute and the Broward area enforcement surprises many newcomers. The BUI laws in Florida are strict and our Broward DUI lawyer advises you to use caution when operating your boat in the water around Fort Lauderdale.

Florida BUI is punished similarly to DUI and our Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer is experienced in handling both types of cases. The first arrest and conviction can result in a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail, in addition to probation and public service hours. A second conviction for BUI can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and nine months in jail. A third Florida BUI conviction within ten years becomes a felony, punishable by more than one year in prison; any fourth conviction, regardless of the time frame, is a felony. The provisions for BUI with serious property damage and BUI manslaughter are very similar to their DUI arrest counterparts. Likewise, BUI can have aggravating factors such as a minor present on the boat or a BAC exceeding 0.20, which result in harsher punishments. Operating a boat in the waters of Florida, like driving a car on the roads, indicates your implied consent to a breath test, and you can also be arrested if the officer believes you are also or additionally under the influence of other impairing drugs or substances. Unlike a DUI arrest, however, BUI in Florida will have no impact on your driver’s license. The Broward authorities will also impound your boat, just as a car is impounded following a DUI arrest.

A good Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney is familiar with these issues and more. If you have been charged with DUI or BUI in south Florida, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., which has experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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