How a BUI Lawyer Benefits Your Case

Controlling a boat while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is one of the offenses prohibited in all 50 states. That said, Florida treats such infractions differently from other states. Do not attempt to take these charges lightly. Depending on the severity of the situation, you could end up in jail, have your license suspended, and even become liable for expensive civil damages claims. 

If you’re currently facing BUI charges in the state of Florida, read on to discover what this entails. In case you’re in this particular situation, do not hesitate to contact a competent attorney in Florida. 

The Basis For A BUI Conviction

Currently, Florida law on a BUI does not allow you to operate a vessel or other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By law, a vessel can be a barge, airboat, or watercraft that can be used as a transportation means on water. Although seaplanes are technically water-going vessels, they do not fall under the law governing BUIs.

Whenever the authorities stop you on suspicion of a BUI, they will run tests to determine your level of intoxication. The most important test is a breathalyzer, which finds out the blood alcohol concentration you have at the time of the test. Florida sets a BAC concentration of .08% as the absolute limit. Any higher limit is a reason to determine you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a boat. 

When your BAC level is higher than 0.15% at the time of testing, the prosecutors may prefer aggravated charges, based on the situation leading to your arrest. Also, if you caused an accident while under the influence, the people who suffered losses due to your actions can choose to pursue civil damages against you. 

Penalties You Face from a BUI

The penalties that accrue because of a BUI depend on several factors. These situations include;

  • If a person has prior convictions relating to a BUI or DUI
  • Had a BAC level greater than the 0.08% limit
  • Was in the company of a person under the age of 18 in the vessel when they were committing the offense
  • Whether the person was the cause or contributing factor to an accident that led to property damage, injury, or death

First-offense BUI penalties are generally regarded as second-degree misdemeanors. They typically carry fines between $500 to $1,000 and a six-month jail sentence at the maximum. However, if this is your first BUI offense resulting in an accident, a high BAC, or an underage passenger, the penalties will be aggravated.

Second-offense BUI penalties are also second-degree misdemeanors, but you’ll instead have a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 with a 9-month maximum jail time. In case this second offense happens within five years of the previous DUI or BUI, then there will be a mandatory jail term of a minimum of ten days. For aggravating circumstances such as an elevated BAC level or having an underage passenger, fines go up between $2,000 to $4,000.

What To Do If Arrested on a BUI Charge

Ensure you exercise your right to silence and have an attorney after your arrest. As they say, anything you tell the police can, and is almost always, used against you in a court of law. Thus, it’s best to have counsel when facing BUI charges. 

You should not attempt to represent yourself in a court of law. It is in your best interest to reach out to a competent BUI attorney. By virtue of specializing in such cases and spending time in courts of law, a lawyer knows how to navigate the law and work to reduce the charges against you.

Contact a Florida BUI Lawyer at the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford Today

You should never take a BUI charge lightly in the state of Florida. Whether it is you or someone close to you facing this charge, consult a competent counsel as soon as possible. Partnering with us at the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford can help you get the support you need.

We are award-winning trial lawyers, earning merits from Florida Trial Lawyers and other justice providers nationwide. We know what it takes to ward off all the excesses of aggressive prosecutors. Learn more about how we can help you face this charge today. Contact us at (239) 315-9750, or fill out this contact form on our website.

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