Any person who is operating a vessel in the state of Florida and is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is guilty of Boating Under the Influence (BUI), Florida Statute Section 327.35. A person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when affected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired or their blood alcohol level is .08 or higher.

Boating under the influence is very similar in nature to driving under the influence (DUI) and is therefore addressed and penalized in the same manner. Just like DUI, if you are suspected of boating under the influence, you can be pulled over, asked to perform field sobriety exercises and to submit to a Breathalyzer or other chemical tests to determine your blood alcohol content. The laws for implied consent are also applicable to BUI cases; therefore, if you refuse to submit to testing for blood alcohol content you will lose BOTH your driving and boating privileges.

Penalties for BUI may include a fine, jail time, boat seizure and loss of boating privileges as well as probation and attendance at a substance abuse course. Other factors that could enhance the penalties incurred are: damage to property or another, serious bodily injury, death of any human being, failure to give information or render aid, blood alcohol content of .15 or higher, or the presence of a person under the age of eighteen (18) on the boat. In 2013, 15 percent of the state's boating fatalities were from boating accidents related to alcohol and drug use.

Criminal Defense Against BUI Charges

For more information on how to defend yourself against drunk boating charges, you can contact the attorneys at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates. Call 407-982-2714 or 888-337-5886, or send us an email to schedule a complementary consultation.