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Lake City Boating Under Influence Attorneys

With the most registered boat owners in the country, it is clear that in Lake City and throughout the state of Florida, boating is not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle. Spending a day out on the boat is very relaxing, and a great way to spend time with friends and family.

Many times, people bring alcohol on board and while that can add to the atmosphere, it is also dangerous and could result in criminal charges. It is crucial that all boat operators know the laws of the state, so they do not face charges. If you have been charged, it is even more important that you speak with a Lake City boating under influence attorney that can help you beat the charges.

Driving vs. Boating Under Influence

Unlike many other states, Florida does not treat boating under the influence in the same manner as driving under the influence. In fact, boating under the influence is outlined in a completely different section of legal statutes than driving while impaired.

When a person is charged with a DUI in Florida, it is the driver of the vehicle that is charged in the vast majority of cases. However, boats are different from cars and there may not have been anyone steering at the time of a BUI stop. People may even be lounging on an anchored boat, meaning there is no one in the operator’s seat. As such, law enforcement will usually charge the person responsible for navigation if they are under the influence. When the person responsible for the boat is not clear, it is usually the owner of the watercraft that will face BUI charges.

Another important difference between these two charges is that while law enforcement must have probable cause to stop a driver for a DUI, this is not a requirement for a BUI stop. Law enforcement can stop a boat and even get onboard without any reason at all.

DUIs and BUIs do have one similarity under the law, and that is the legal limit. Just as motorists cannot drive a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, boat operators must also stay under this legal limit.

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Penalties for Boating Under Influence

A first BUI offense is considered a misdemeanor, but that does not mean a conviction does not carry harsh penalties. Even a first conviction can result in up to six months in jail and a fine between $500 and $1,000. Subsequent BUI convictions become much more serious and in either case, you will have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.

Call Our Lake City Boating Under Influence Attorneys for the Best Defense

At Meldon Law, our Lake City personal injury lawyer knows there are defenses to these serious charges, and we will create a strong case that will give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our skilled attorney and to learn more about how we can help.

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