Florida is a boater’s paradise, with the open ocean, intercoastal waterways, and sprawling lakes accommodating all types of boating enthusiasts. Just because a person is behind the wheel of the boat doesn’t mean they are not subjected to similar alcohol criminal offenses, such as DUI and BUI.

If facing charges related to boating under the influence, consulting with a knowledgeable Palm Beach Gardens DUI defense lawyer is essential for understanding your legal options and securing the best possible outcome.

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What is a BUI?

Under Florida statute 327.35, it is a criminal offense to boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have a blood/breath alcohol level of .08 or higher, or you're boating to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired, you can be found guilty of BUI. In addition, if you are under the influence of controlled substances (ie, drugs), you can also be found guilty of BUI.

Similarities Between DUI and BUI

The BUI statute is similar to the DUI statute 316.193 in that it is what the state has to prove. Both offenses are misdemeanors for a first offense unless someone is injured in the offense. Both have increased penalties for subsequent convictions. A DUI and a BUI will require attendance at a substance abuse course. The court will also impound the vessel for 10 days, similar to the DUI statute, which requires a ten-day immobilization.

man arrested for BUI in need of a Palm Beach Gardens defense lawyerPenalties for Refusing a Drug Test

Under Florida statute 327.35215, a person who is lawfully arrested for BUI refuses to submit to a blood-breath or urine test is subject to a civil penalty of $500 for the first offense. Like a DUI, this refusal can be used against you in court.

Unlike a DUI, this first refusal will not end in suspending your driver’s license. If the defendant has refused to take a test, you can, within 30 days, petition to have a hearing before the court to determine whether it was a lawful refusal.

Know your Rights

While DUI and BUI may be similar, it is much easier for law enforcement to contact someone on a boat. The Coast Guard and law enforcement have the right to do equipment checks at just about any time. This means law enforcement can view and inspect the driver and his or her condition without reasonable suspicion. Be careful out on the water; do not put yourself, your guests, or other boaters in harm's way. If you find yourself facing legal issues related to boating under the influence, seeking advice from a skilled Palm Beach Gardens DUI defense lawyer is advisable to protect your rights and navigate the legal process effectively.

Contact Our Palm Beach Gardens DUI Defense Lawyer 

The 2024 updates to DUI laws in Florida relating to arrests and charges significantly change the legal landscape and how cases are handled. Overall, these laws aim to make the roads safer for everyone. If you do find yourself potentially facing charges, remember we’re just a phone call away. You can also click the link below to fill out our online form.

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Contact our Palm Beach Gardens DUI defense lawyer for personalized legal advice or to discuss your current situation in light of these new laws. You can also check out our free online guide to help you get started on the best decision for you and your case.

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