Boating Under the Influence

Arrested for boating under the influence?

Don’t navigate this process alone, contact our firm to discuss what defenses may be available to fight your case, contact a Tampa Bay BUI lawyer today.

Drinking and Boating Laws in Florida

Whether you are operating a vessel on a lake, channel, inter-coastal waterway or the Gulf of Mexico, boating under the influence is a crime. Law enforcement agencies can board your vessel for any reason and once they make contact with you if they suspect you are impaired, these agencies will request you to perform a series of field sobriety tasks to determine if you are impaired.

Florida law provides that you can be convicted of a BUI if your blood alcohol is found to be above the legal limit of .08 or under the influence of any medications, even prescribed, that has caused your normal faculties to be impaired. If you have been charged with a BUI, it is critical that you seek experienced BUI defense representation.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Florida

The penalties for BUI charges increase depending on whether or not you are a first-time offender, whether there was a minor in the boat, and what your blood alcohol level (BAL) was.

Penalties for First BUI:

  • Up to $1,000 fine (no less than $500)
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Up to 50 hours of mandatory community service, as well as $10 fine for each hour
  • Boat impounded for 10 days

Penalties for First BUI with a minor in the boat or BAL of .15 or higher:

  • Up to $4,000 fine (no less than $2,000)
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Up to 50 hours of mandatory community service, as well as $10 fine for each hour
  • Boat impounded for 10 days

Penalties for Second BUI:

  • Up to $2,000 fine (no less than 1,000)
  • Up to nine months in jail (mandatory minimum of 10 days if the second conviction is within five years of the first)
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Boat impounded for 30 days

Penalties for Second BUI with a minor in the boat or with BAL of .15 or higher:

  • Up to $2,000 fine (no less than $1,000)
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Boat impounded for 30 days

Penalties for Third (or subsequent) BUI:

  • 3rd degree felony charge if within 10 years of the last conviction
  • Misdemeanor if more than 10 years has passed since the last conviction
  • Up to $5,000 fine (no less than $2,000)
  • Minimum 30 days in jail, up to one year in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Boat impounded for 90 days

Penalties for Third (or subsequent) BUI with a minor in the boat or with BAL of .15 or higher:

  • 3rd degree felony charge if within 10 years of the last conviction
  • Misdemeanor if more than 10 years has passed since the last conviction
  • No less than $4,000
  • Minimum 30 days in jail, up to one year in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Boat impounded for 90 days