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Boating Under the Influence

South Florida Boating Under the Influence Arrest

With miles of beautiful waves off the shores of Florida, tourists and locals alike sometimes find themselves charged with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you face this stressful situation, the attorneys of Meltzer & Bell, P.A. know how to effectively formulate on your defense. Although a driver's license suspension does not occur after a BUI conviction, the consequences of this criminal offense are still very serious.

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., "The Traffic Stop," represent clients on BUI charged and other criminal offenses throughout Palm Beach County including the West County Courthouse in Belle Glade, the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach, the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens and the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach, FL. Call (561) 557-8686 today to discuss the case.

Info Center for BUI Charges in Florida

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Challenging the Civil Penalty in a BUI Refusal Case

The defendant may challenge the $500 civil penalty imposed in a Florida BUI refusal case within 30 days of the arrest by requesting a hearing. The request for a hearing tolls the time for payment. Operating a vessel without paying the civil penalty imposed is a first-degree misdemeanor.

The issues in the civil penalty hearings are similar to the issues in an administrative hearing in a DUI case. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively fight BUI charges at every stage of the case including contesting the civil penalty within the first 30 days after the arrest.

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BUI Under Florida Statute Section 327.35

Florida has adopted an escalating schedule of mandatory fine and a maximum jail sentence which is identical to Florida’s law for a first, second or third conviction. See Florida Statute Section 327.35. For purposes of determining the prior number of convictions, a DUI or BUI conviction counts as a conviction for the other offense. See F.S. s. 327.35(6) and s. 316.193(k).
Under s. 327.36, the Court is required to adjudicate the person to be guilty. The court is not allowed to withhold adjudication for any BUI offense. Unlike a DUI conviction, there is no license suspension for a BUI conviction. Also, the court is not permitted to impose a condition that the person convicted of BUI must install the ignition interlock devise.

If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest, the court must sentence the person to the following minimum mandatory penalties:

  • a term of probation;
  • the successful completion of a DUI program sponsored substance abuse course and psychosocial evaluation as a condition of probation;
  • community service for a minimum of 50 hours (unlike the DUI statute, there is no buy out option in a BUI case); and
  • the court must order the impoundment of the vessel used in the incident or any vessel or vehicle registered in the defendant’s name.

The court will also impose a fine and court costs.

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Vessel Impoundment in BUI Cases

The impoundment must be a condition of probation. The impoundment cannot occur at the same time that the person served any jail time.
The impoundment is required for any vehicle or vessel operated by the defendant at the time of arrest or any vehicle registered to defendant at the time of impoundment or immobilization. Unlike in DUI cases, the impoundment cannot be waived for a family hardship.

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BUI Impoundment or Immobilization Requirement

Under F.S. s. 327.35(6) the court must impose the following period of impoundment or immobilization:

  • First conviction is 10 days;
  • Second conviction (within five years of prior) requires 30 days; and
  • Third Conviction (within 10 years of a prior) is 90 days.

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Implied Consent in BUI Cases

Florida’s implied consent provision applies to breath, urine and blood tests in BUI cases just as it does in DUI cases. F.S. s. 327.35, s. 352.353 and s. 327.354.. The defendant must be told that the failure to submit to a lawful test will result in a $500 civil penalty instead of an administrative suspension of the driver's license. If you were arrested for refusing a BAC test in Fort Lauderdale or other Florida cities without being informed of the consequences, an attorney could fight against your arrest.

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Finding an Experienced BUI Attorney in Broward County

If you are charged with boating under the influence in Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade, turn to the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We represent clients throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County, FL, on this serious criminal charge throughout cities such as West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and Hollywood.

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Client Testimonials for Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Client Testimonials
  • ...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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