It is spring break, and you grab some of your college friends and head out to sea. Luckily, you have your boater’s license. You each drink a couple of beers and are enjoying the Florida sun when, suddenly, you see those dreaded flashing lights behind you; you have been pulled over. Yes, law enforcement can pull you over on the water too for a BUI! What can you expect?
Florida’s Boating Under Influence Laws
Florida’s blood alcohol levels for boating under influence (BUI) are similar to drunk driving. If you are 21 or over, a first violation is generally punished by a fine of a $500-1,000 for a first conviction and up to six months in jail. A second conviction raises the fine to $1,000-2,000 and the imprisonment to a maximum of nine months. Third and fourth violations, or blood alcohol levels of .15 or higher, have more severe punishments, including mandatory prison sentences. They can also put felonies on your record, which can limit your future job prospects.
Additional Punishments You Could Face
Furthermore, the court has several other punishments it is obligated to impose on you if you are convicted of boating under the influence. You will be placed on monthly reporting probation for a year, as well as be required to attend a substance abuse court. You also will be required to complete at least 50 hours of public service as a part of this probation. Your boat may also be impounded, and additional fines could be assessed.
If you are boating under the influence and you contribute to or cause damage to another person or someone’s property, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, or a felony of the first, second, or third degree, depending on how seriously the other person or property is harmed and whether you provided aid after the accident. These types of charges can have lengthy prison terms and permanently mar your criminal record.
Call a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been accused of or caught boating under the influence, you should call a qualified St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney immediately. The Khonsari Law Group has the attorneys you need to guide you through the criminal justice process and obtain the best possible result for your situation. Contact us today for a FREE, confidential consultation online or at (727) 269-5300.