Frequently Asked Questions About Boating Under the Influence

Champaign glassed, toasting to the boat life on the Florida shore.

The phrase “boating under the influence” isn’t as well known as “driving under the influence.” The state of Florida addresses both crimes through a similar lens, though. If you are accused of boating under the influence, you need to know how these charges may be carried out in court. You’ll also need to know how unchallenged charges may impact your life.

Let us at the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford answer your questions about boating under the influence charges. When we work together, we can make sure you go into a criminal trial with all of the information you need to defend yourself from unfounded accusations. 

What Florida Laws Address Boating Under the Influence?

Florida requires its boat owners to register their boats with the appropriate departments. Boaters must also have a license before they take to the water. Any boat owner who tries to operate a water vehicle without the appropriate documentation—and on some occasions, insurance—puts themselves in immediate danger.

That said, the same laws that address driving under the influence in Florida address boating under the influence in Florida. Anyone behind the wheel of a boat in Florida must have a blood alcohol level (BAC) below 0.08%. A driver caught with a higher BAC faces misdemeanor charges or, in the face of a more complex criminal history, felonies.

What Are the Specific Dangers of Boating Under the Influence?

Boating under the influence poses many of the same dangers to the general public as driving under the influence does. If you get behind the wheel of a boat while intoxicated, or should someone else, other parties may find themselves at risk for injury. Collisions, for example, can be more severe when one driver isn’t aware of the obstacles in their environment. 

An intoxicated driver can endanger their own passengers as well as other boaters. Passengers contending with an intoxicated driver may find themselves abandoned in the water or positioned too close to a boat’s moving parts.

Finally, unsafe alcohol consumption can also make it more difficult for drivers to distinguish environmental hazards from the rest of a waterway. Whether it’s a change in the weather or debris in the water, a driver must be aware of their surroundings if they’re going to protect their property and their health.

Can You Get Arrested for Boating Under the Influence?

You can get arrested for boating under the influence. Jail time for a first-time offense cannot last for more than one year. However, the more complex your history with law enforcement may be, the longer you risk spending in jail and/or prison.

Our team can advocate for you when you face imprisonment for boating under the influence. Our arguments can see the time you risk in prison reduced or dropped from your charges entirely. When you first meet with our criminal defense attorney, we’ll discuss what possible results your case might yield.

Can You Challenge Boating Under the Influence Charges?

You do have the right to challenge boating under the influence charges. You can do so by arguing that police officers inaccurately assessed your circumstances. Alternatively, you can argue that you were, in fact, operating a water vehicle within the letter of the law. 

We can discuss what arguments you might put forward during an initial case consultation. You can rest easy, however, knowing that we will fight to have the charges brought against you reduced or dropped entirely.

Let Us Know About Your Boating Under the Influence Charges Today

There’s nothing wrong with spending a long weekend out on the water. Florida’s waterway patrols may overreact, though, if they suspect you or your party of misconduct. These parties want to keep everyone on the water as safe as possible but can upend your life in doing so.

If you’re charged with boating under the influence and want to challenge those charges, let the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford know. Having received many awards such as state bar association awards, Attorney Robert H. Hanaford has been helping clients like you since 1982, and he wants to fight for you, too. 

You can schedule a consultation with our team by calling (239) 315-9750 or filling out our contact form.

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