Charged with a BUI in Pinellas County or Tampa Bay?
Pinellas County and Tampa Bay is a boater’s paradise. However, if you have been stopped and charged with boating under the influence with a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or higher you are subject to being arrested for BUI. Boaters under 21 are considered impaired and can be arrested on a BUI if he or she has a blood-alcohol content of 0.02 percent or higher. If you have other controlled substances on board or have been found to be under the influence of any controlled substance under chapter 893, you will be arrested for boating under the influence.
Call 727-824-5727 to Speak With a Tampa Bay BUI Lawyer
If You Are Found Guilty of a BUI – Florida Statute 327.35 states:
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of boating under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is operating a vessel within this state and:
Florida Boating and BUI Laws
Probable Cause to Stop a Vessel in Florida
The boating laws in Florida make it much easier to be pulled over in a boat or vessel and the police do not require probably cause to stop or search your boat. Many boaters make an assumption that the need for probable cause when being pulled over in a DUI are the same as in a BUI. Again, the police do not need probable cause or suspicion to stop your boat or to check for compliance and inspection. An arrest for any criminal violation including, but not limited to a BUI charge can occur without probable cause for stopping you. The police or authorities can NOT however board your boat for inspection if the owner or operator of the boat is not present.
Discovery and Signs of BUI Impairment
Once an officer has boarded a boat for “inspection” they will immediately begin to look for signs of intoxication. If they suspect you are intoxicated or you have been operating a boat under the influence (BUI) , a breathalyzer test will be administered. Those results are admissible in court as evidence to prosecute you.
(BUI) Boating Under the Influence Penalties Florida
Florida BUI Fines and Penalties: If you are found guilty of a first time conviction BUI in Pinellas County or Tampa Bay, the potential fines can be as high as $1,000 plus up to 6 months in jail. Other penalties Pursuant to Florida Statutes 316.193(6)(a) state:
(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:
1. By a fine of:
2. By imprisonment for:
Pursuant to F.S. 327.35(6)(a) – First Time BUI Conviction Florida
Second Offense BUI Penalties Florida
If you were arrested and convicted previously in Florida on a BUI and you have been charged with BUI for a second time within five years of your prior conviction “The court shall order imprisonment for not less than 10 days.” Probation, fines and impoundment can be expected. 2nd Offense BUI – Fines $1,000-$2,000 and jail time of no more than nine months.
Third Violation BUI Florida
If you have been arrested for BUI for the third time and you are convicted within ten years of any previous violations will face third degree felony charges.
Other Charges that Can Accompany a BUI Charge in Florida
Frequently, when a person is charged with a BUI other charges are also filed such as reckless boating, boating in an unregistered vessel, violating no wake zones and boating in unauthorized waters.
Federal Charges BUI
BUI’s in Pinellas County and Tampa Bay Florida are usually prosecuted by the local State Attorney’s Office. However depending on where the vessel was being operated, it can be a potential Federal Offense and BUI is frequently investigated by the United States Coast Guard
Penalties are even greater if damage to someone’s property or if a person dies as a operating a vessel while under the influence which is BUI Manslaughter. If you have been charged with BUI Manslaughter, hiring an aggressive, experienced Tampa Bay BUI trial attorney to represent you is crucial. BUI Manslaugher is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison or up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if the operator left the scene of the accident without rendering aid as required by law.
Read More: Boating Under the Influence in Tampa Bay