Boating Under the Influence

It’s common knowledge that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) s a serious offense. Did you know though that you could be arrested for operating a boat under the influence? Florida has stringent laws for people charged with BUI similar to DUI offenders.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for BUI, then it’s vital you find skilled legal counsel. An experienced attorney can create a sturdy defense utilizing experts, motions and other legal options to reduce or dismiss your charges entirely. Do what’s best for your future by contacting Meltzer & Bell, P.A. today. 

BUI Defense Attorneys in West Palm Beach, Florida

A BUI or DUI conviction carries severe consequences that could alter your life. Be prepared for what’s next by contacting Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our experienced attorneys will do whatever possible to assist with your case. We understand this is a stressful experience, and we want to help you through it with excellent legal service.

Contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. by calling (561) 557-8686. We will set up an appointment and answer all your legal questions. Our lawyers represent people throughout the greater Palm Beach county area including Boca Raton, Wellington, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. 

Overview of BUI in Florida

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The Differences Between a DUI and BUI Stop

Usually, a DUI traffic stop occurs because the officer has probable cause that you were under the influence. This means he had enough circumstantial information to have a reasonable belief you were DUI. Some examples of probable cause in a DUI scenario can be a swerving car, excessive speeding or breaking other traffic laws.

Law enforcement handle stops with boats differently. Officers don’t need probable cause to pull over a boat or inspect it. This is due to Florida’s laws concerning random inspections of equipment, fishing compliance and safety registration. So, an officer legally doesn’t need probable cause to conduct a lawful stop if it’s for a boat.

This can create issues with defending BUI cases because you can’t rely on the stop being unlawful as a defense. What makes things more difficult is that people who have spent the day out on the boat can look under the influence due to dehydration, fatigue or other conditions. An officer can spot the driver and create suspicions they are under the influence. They then can pull the driver over without probable cause and arrest them because their appearance makes them look inebriated.

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Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Florida

The penalties for boating under the influence are similar to DUI. A BUI conviction can also be used as a prior DUI if you are accused of driving under the influence in the future. The following are the penalties for boating under the influence in Florida.

Penalties for first BUI: 

  • A fine of up to $1,000;
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Mandatory probation up to one year;
  • Mandatory attendance at BUI/DUI School;
  • Up to 50 hours of mandatory community service; and
  • Boat impoundment for 10 days

Penalties for second BUI:

  • A fine of up to $2,000;
  • Up to 9 months in jail;
  • Mandatory probation up to one year
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol education/substance abuse class
  • Boat impoundment for 30 days

Certain factors such as having a child passenger on the boat during the offense or having a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher will result in an aggravated DUI. The penalties for aggravated DUI cases are much more severe and include: 

  • A fine of up to $4,000;
  • Up to one year in jail;
  • Mandatory probation up to one year;
  • Mandatory attendance at a BUI/DUI School;
  • Up to 50 hours of mandatory community service;
  • Boat impounded for 10 days

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Additional Resources 

Boating Regulations in FL – Visit the official website for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to learn more about boating regulations. Access the site to learn more about what a boat is supposed to be equipped with and why an officer can stop you.

Florida DUI Laws – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida’s state laws and legislation. Access the site to learn more about DUI offenses, the elements, penalties, and possible diversion programs for offenders.

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DUI Defense Attorney for Boaters in Palm Beach County, FL

If you or someone you know has been accused of BUI, it’s time you take action. Contacting an experienced attorney with Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is a great first step. We will utilize our resources, knowledge and skills to help you. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation. 

Our lawyers will do all in our power to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Contact us to preserve your rights and future. We represent people throughout the greater Palm Beach county area including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Palm Beach and Wellington.

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Client Testimonials for Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
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  • ...A long weekend vacation in Palm Beach resulted in the potential for serious consequences that could have set me back in unimaginative ways. M+B was a truly incredible legal advocate and was always accessible within minutes to answer questions and discuss the progress of the case within the system - truly remarkable. I could not have retained better legal representation in my case in Palm Beach County.

  • I just had to commend you on the outstanding job you did on behalf of your client in court yesterday. If my clients were ever to ask me if I know of a good DUI defense attorney, I know to whom I can refer them!

  • I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.

  • I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!

  • Mr. Steven Bell, Words cant explain how thankful I am for you and your firm. I was facing felony charges and even looking at doing 5 years in jail! Not only did you fight for me, you got my case dismissed and dropped. For that, I don't have words to say “thank you” you were always kind and believed in me. You looked for every opportunity and you won! Thank you for being my guardian angel in disguise and steering me in the right direction. You are forever my “too go guy” thank you soooo much!

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