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DUI » BUI Defense

Tampa BUI Defense Lawyer

Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

One of the many pleasures of living in Tampa is its easy access to water. Millions of visitors flock to the area every year to partake in the joy and excitement of the coastline's many recreational offerings. One of our most popular water activities is boating. People take their boats out to the gulf, the bay, the ocean, or one of Florida's many lakes. It's not uncommon for many boaters to bring a case or two of beer to enjoy while under the sun. When this is the case, it is important for all boaters to practice safe drinking and driving habits.

It is illegal in Florida to operate a boat or any other watercraft vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver is considered too intoxicated to operate a boat when his / her blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08 percent or higher. People under the age of 21 will be arrested and charged if their BAC level is higher than 0.02 percent. Once BAC reaches these levels, people lose their ability to maintain coordination, focus, alertness, balance, vision, and good judgment. Furthermore, certain factors inherent to boating, such as wind, sun, heat, vibrations, engine noise, etc., can intensify the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Tips for Avoiding BUI Arrests

The U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division (CD-5422) takes great strides to promote the safety and well-being of boaters throughout the nation. In an effort to cut down on BUI-related injuries and deaths, they have provided the following list of tips to help boaters to reduce their likelihood of being impaired while enjoying the water:

  • Make sure you are well-stocked with cool drinks as an alternative to alcohol.
  • Always have a handy stash of food and snacks!
  • Wear clothing that will keep all boaters comfortable and cool.
  • Have a timeline for your trip. Don't go so long that you will become fatigued behind the wheel.
  • After drinking (for example, during lunch ashore), wait before getting back into the boat.
    • It is estimated that you should wait an hour for each drink that you consume.
  • The best way to stay safe is to avoid drinking altogether when boating. This includes for passengers.

Finally, if alcohol is part of your day, make sure you plan for it! Have a time set to go ashore and party. This could be on a dock, picnic area or any other safe environment. Just make sure that there is going to be a safe buffer between when you will be operating the boat and when drinking.

Unfortunately, these tips may not have been enough to keep you from arrest. If so, and if you find yourself facing criminal charges, the best thing that you can do is to get the involvement of an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer With the severe penalties, you need to be confident that you are doing everything possible to protect your freedom and your rights.

Consequences of a Conviction

If you are found operating a boat with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher, you will be arrested and charged with boating under the influence. People convicted of BUI face multiple penalties, such as steep monetary fines, jail sentences, alcohol or drug treatment programs, probation, community service, boat impoundment, and the loss of the right to operate a boat in the future. A conviction can also have a negative impact on your driver's license privileges as well. In addition, certain factors may increase the severity of your punishment, such as if a minor was present in the boat, if the operator is under the age of 21, if this is a second, third, or fourth BUI offense, if property was damaged, or if another person was injured or killed.

Arrested for drunk boating? Contact a Tampa BUI defense lawyer from our firm today!

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