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Boating Under the Influence Laws in Florida

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

July 5, 2022

People living in and visiting Miami spend a lot of time on the water during the summer. Many people also tend to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two while on their boats. Let’s discuss what you should know about boating under the influence and the potential criminal consequences involved.

BUI Laws

It is illegal for individuals to drive or operate boats with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. You may also be charged for being under the influence of drugs or impaired by any amount of alcohol that affects your ability to safely operate the watercraft.

Typically, a first offense boating under the influence charge is a misdemeanor punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Probation

These penalties may increase if there were aggravating circumstances, like the driver having a significantly high BAC or a minor under 18 in the boat at the time of the offense.

What To Know About BUI and DUI

There are a few key differences between BUI and DUI.

First, a BUI will not affect your driver’s license. Because you were not operating a car, your driving rights will not be suspended like they would for a DUI.

Second, implied consent laws are different. If you refuse a breath test in a car, you suffer license suspension as a penalty. If you refuse a breath test on a boat, you will face a fine for refusal.

Third, if you have a BUI on your record, your first DUI will actually be considered your second offense. This is true both ways.

Boating Under the Influence Defense in Florida

If your day enjoying the water turned sour after a BUI arrest, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today. We have helped defend individuals facing criminal charges in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Daytona beach areas. Share the details of your boating under the influence case with our experienced and diligent team today; click here to request a consultation.