Naples BUI Lawyer

One of the favorite pastimes in Naples, Florida is boating. At any time of the year, you can find people out on the water in boats, jet skis, and other watercraft thanks to the warm climate and abundant waterways. However, the laidback scene can take a turn for the worse if you find yourself in hot water for boating under the influence offenses. 

At the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford, we understand how easy it is to be caught up in the moment and make a mistake that could lead to a BUI charge. Our experienced Naples BUI defense lawyers are here to aggressively advocate for your rights and help you avoid the serious penalties that come with a conviction. In this article, we will explore the BUI laws and penalties in the state of Florida, as well as provide tips and strategies for how to handle boating under the influence charges.

Understanding Boating Under the Influence Laws in Florida

In Florida, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Boating under the influence is a serious offense. The penalties for a BUI conviction in Florida are similar to those of a DUI charge. Boaters in Florida can be charged with a BUI if they are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and their normal faculties are impaired. This offense carries serious consequences, including fines, jail time, suspension of your boating license, and more.

Which Law Enforcement Agencies Can Enforce Boating Laws in Florida?

For nearly all intents and purposes, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is the primary agency that monitors and enforces boating laws in Florida. The FWC has a dedicated law enforcement division, which is responsible for the enforcement of all state boating regulations, including BUI laws. Additionally, some local law enforcement agencies in Naples may have jurisdiction over certain waterways and may enforce BUI laws as well. These agencies include sheriffs and deputies, municipal police officers, and other law enforcement officers.

Potential Penalties For Boating Under the Influence

The consequences for first-time boating under the influence offense, without any aggravating circumstances, usually involve a jail sentence of up to six months, probation of 12 months max, a fine ranging between $500 and $1,000, 50 hours of community service, a substance abuse evaluation with any suggested treatment, 10 days of vessel detainment, and participation in a victim impact panel.

If convicted of a second BUI, the penalties double to fines between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to nine months in prison. However, if the BAC is higher than 0.15, regardless of whether it is the first, second, or subsequent offense, penalties are even stiffer due to willful negligence of others’ lives.

Potential Defenses of a BUI Charge

In order to get a conviction, the state of Florida must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were responsible for the control over the boat and that your cognitive faculties were impaired at the time due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol. The most common defenses in a BUI charge are: 

  • Lack of Probable Cause to Stop the Vessel: If the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the vessel, then the evidence obtained from the stop may be inadmissible in court. 
  • Insufficient Evidence: If the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating the vessel while impaired, then they may not be able to convict you. 
  • Improper Test Administration: If the officer did not properly administer the sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test, then any results may not be allowed to be used as evidence.

Regardless of the potential defense you believe you have against a charge, it is best to consult an experienced BUI defense lawyer to discuss your case and determine the best course of action. A Naples criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and develop a strategy to defend your case and protect your rights.

The Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford Offers Unparalleled BUI Defense in Naples

Facing a BUI charge can be a daunting experience. It is essential that anyone charged with such an offense contact a qualified Naples criminal defense lawyer. The Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford is the premier legal team to turn to when facing a BUI charge in Naples. 

We understand that this charge can have a significant impact on a person’s life and future, and are dedicated to providing the highest quality legal representation. Our team will provide a thorough analysis of the facts in the case, laying out all of your options, and allowing you to make an informed decision. Contact us online or call us at (239) 315-9750 today to schedule your no-obligation consultation.

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