What qualifies a person to be placed under arrest for a (BUI)in Florida? That is easy, Florida takes a no-nonsense approach. You will hear familiar acronyms like BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). Some Law Enforcement will tell you that the hard and fast rule is .08 BAC. This is true, however, do not forget about the exceptions. You must be mindful that Florida Law can apprehend you between .05 and .08 BAC with (other competent evidence).
Penalties for Boating Under the Influence
The penalty depends on the BAC and if this is your first conviction or not. They may include:
- For a first Conviction, a person may be sent to prison up to six months and be fined up to $500.
- For a second Conviction, a person may be sent to prison up to 9 months and fined up to a $1.000.
- For a third Conviction, a person may be sent to a prison up to one year and fined up to $2,500.
- If a person has a BAC of .15 or higher, and/or an occupant on the watercraft that is below the age of 18, that individual is subject to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.
- If a person who is operating a watercraft while Boating Under the Influence and is involved in an Incident (Accident) that causes Death, Injury or Property Damage, the Individual has committed a Felony.
- If a person operates a watercraft in Florida that establishes consent for Peace Officers to test you for illegal BAC and drugs. If you refuse to provide a sample a $500 civil fine will be assessed. It is a crime if you have ever refused to provide a sample before.
What is important here is that we understand the six listed penalties above and remember that these are only a small part of the equation. No matter which conviction you are on, the Judge does have the latitude to max your sentence out. Six months to one year in prison is enough to bankrupt most Americans. A fun time out on the water mixed with an intoxicant above legal limit could just end life as you know it. Think about the loss of your home, boat, cars, employment, and way to provide for your family. That is the real cost here.
Next time you think about boating in all its forms, let’s leave the alcohol at home and have a great time on the water. If you must consume alcohol, have a designated driver for the watercraft.
The attorneys at Epstein and Robbins have extensive experience obtaining the best possible outcomes for their clients, and they do so with passion for their clients and a singular focus on a fair outcome. Contact us today and let us help!