Gainesville Boating Under Influence Attorneys
In Gainesville, as throughout the rest of Florida, boating is not just a recreational activity, it is a way of life. Boating is a lot of fun and it is not uncommon for alcohol to become a part of the activity. Anyone operating a boat should be very careful about mixing boating and alcohol. Just like drunk driving, boating under the influence is against the law in Florida, and a conviction will come with very serious penalties. If you have been charged, our Gainesville boating under influence attorney explains what you need to know about this charge.
Our Attorney Explains Boating Under Influence vs. DUIs
It is natural to assume that a charge for boating under the influence is the same as a charge for driving under the influence. However, BUIs and DUIs do have some differences. Boating under the influence is covered under an entirely different legal statute than driving while impaired.
Typically, the person sitting behind the wheel of a car is the one charged with driving under the influence. Due to the different structure and nature of boats though, there may have been no one steering, or even sitting in the operator’s seat, at the time of the BUI charge. Due to this difference, the person that navigates the boat is usually considered the operator and therefore, potentially subject to a BUI charge. If there is a question about who was the boat operator, it is usually the owner or renter of the vessel.
The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is the same for drivers and boat operators. Just as no one can drive a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater, no one can operate a boat if they are over this legal limit, either.
Our Attorney Can Advise on Your Boating Under Influence Stop
Before law enforcement can pull a driver over on a suspected DUI, they must have reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was committed, or is about to be. For example, a police officer must notice a driver weaving in and out of lanes or otherwise acting recklessly, before pulling them over.
The same is not true for BUI stops, though. Law enforcement can stop vessels at any time and for any reason, which may include investigating a suspected BUI. During this stop, law enforcement can also ask for the boating registration and the operator’s identification.
Our Attorney Can Protect You from the Harsh Penalties for Boating Under Influence in Gainesville
BUIs are typically considered a misdemeanor offense, but they are still very serious. If convicted, you will face a fine between $500 and $1,000, as well as a maximum of six months in jail. If you are convicted of a subsequent BUI, the penalties are much worse.
Our Gainesville Boating Under Influence Attorney Can Defend Your Charges
If you have been charged with a BUI, our Gainesville boating under influence attorney at Meldon Law can provide the strong defense to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 800-373-8000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review and to learn more about how we can help.