Key West Attorney Defends Clients Accused of Boating Under the Influence

Florida firm offers aggressive defense to protect your rights and your liberty

Florida’s coastal areas and inland waterways attract recreational boating enthusiasts from within and outside the state. In Key West, where I have practiced for more than 10 years, boating is a favorite pastime. But the laws regulating this activity are strictly enforced, including laws against boating under the influence of alcohol. So if your day on the water included drinking, you could be liable for severe, costly penalties. Fortunately, The Jamindar Law Firm is prepared to offer a robust defense to all charges. I am committed to protecting your rights and working tirelessly to produce the best possible outcome in your case.

What is boating under the influence in Florida?

Just like drivers on the roads, boat operators must not have their faculties impaired by drugs or alcohol. The standard for boating under the influence (BUI) is the same as driving under the influence (DUI). An operator cannot have a blood alcohol content equal to or greater than 0.08 percent. However, even without a high BAC, a conviction can result if it can be proved that the boat operator’s normal faculties were impaired.

Anyone who is in control of a vessel can be charged with BUI. If a boat’s owner is intoxicated, the authorities must prove that he was exercising control. If a passenger operates the vessel while under the influence, that person can be charged with BUI. If a vessel, such as a sailboat, requires more than one person to operate it, all persons involved in the operation can face charges.

As with automobile drivers, boaters are legally deemed to have consented to submit to a blood, breath or urine test if stopped on suspicion of BUI. Refusing to take the test subjects the boater to a fine of $500.

BUI penalties in Florida

The penalties for a Florida BUI are strict and escalate depending on a number of factors, such as a prior BUI or DUI conviction, excessive BAC, whether a minor was in the vessel and whether BUI led to an accident causing property damage or injury. Possible penalties for first-time BUI convictions are as follows:

  • Simple BUI— This is a second-degree misdemeanor calling for fines of $500 to $1,000 and a maximum of six months in jail. Probation is likely, but generally requires up to 50 hours of community service and the impoundment or immobilization of the vessel for 10 days.
  • BUI with BAC of at least .15 percent or a minor passenger — This is a second-degree misdemeanor but with increased sentences. Jail time can be up to nine months and fines run between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • BUI with an accident involving property damage or minor injuries to another person — The offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, calling for up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
  • BUI with an accident involving serious injury to another — The offense is a third-degree felony, calling for up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
  • BUI with an accident involving the death of another person — This can be a first-degree felony, worthy of up to 30 years in prison, or a second-degree felony, calling for up to 15 years in prison.

With so much at stake, you must retain the best legal representation available. I will fully investigate your case and analyze every element of the charges against you to devise an appropriate defense. If allegations include consumption of illicit drugs, you can count on my experience in drug crime defense as well. Whatever the circumstances, I work tirelessly to deliver the best possible outcome possible.

Contact a tenacious Florida defense attorney to BUI charges

The Jamindar Law Firm in Key West offers a determined defense to clients accused of boating under the influence in Monroe County, Florida. To schedule a free initial consultation, call me at 305-204-6869 or contact me online. My office is conveniently located at 422 Fleming Street on the edge of the Key West Historical District.