Known for its idyllic beaches and vibrant nightlife, Bradenton and the State of Florida as a whole are extremely popular holiday destinations for tourists. Boating is a popular activity, but many people are unaware that they can be charged if caught boating under the influence (BUI).
Similarly to driving under the influence (DUI), you can be apprehended for BUI if you are caught boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, especially if an accident occurred. If convicted, punishments can include hefty fines and a length of time behind bars.
If you or a loved one is facing a BUI charge in Bradenton, then it is strongly recommended to seek legal advice from a reputable criminal defense attorney. At The Law Place, our criminal defense attorneys will analyze your case and do everything in their power to ensure you receive the best outcome possible. Our team has over 75 years of collective experience in handling BUI cases, as well as other practice areas. Call our law firm today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Bradenton lawyers.
What Happens if You Get Caught Boating Under the Influence in Bradenton, FL.
The laws surrounding boating under the influence (BUI) are relatively similar to those that apply if caught driving under the influence (DUI). The law states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle or vessel when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are found to have a blood alcohol level of over 0.8% or have taken illegal substances that have affected your normal faculties in some way, then it is likely that you will be charged with BUI.
The circumstances in which it can be identified that your normal faculties are impaired includes the inability to talk, walk, hear, see, and make decisions or judgments, as well as perform physical and mental acts in a normal manner. Ultimately, the decision of whether your normal faculties are impaired will come down to the judgment of law enforcement.
As noted in Florida Statute 327.35, boating under the influence is defined as operating or controlling a vessel on any waters. The term vessel incorporates a number of modes of transport, including seaplanes, boats, barges, watercraft, and any other types of transport that can be used on the water.
Penalties for Boating Under the Influence That Resulted in Injuries
There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration when determining the outcome of a BUI that resulted in injury. The charges will vary depending on the severity of the incident and whether the operator of the vessel falls into any of the following:
- If they already have a prior conviction for a BUI or DUI.
- If the test for alcohol shows that the blood alcohol level is extremely high.
- If there were passengers on board the vessel under the age of 18 when you were caught.
- If an accident causing injury or even death occurred as a result of the BUI.
For a first BUI offense, it is likely that you will be charged with a fine ranging between $500 and $1,000, as well as a prison sentence of up to 6 months. For subsequent convictions, the penalties will increase and may result in the following:
- A second conviction – A fine of up to $2,000 and a prison sentence of up to 9 months.
- A third conviction – A third conviction, where at least one prior conviction occurred within the last 10 years, will result in a third-degree felony charge, which includes a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
- A fourth or any subsequent convictions – This will also be charged with a third-degree felony and can carry penalties of up to $5,000 payable in fines and up to 5 years behind bars.
No matter the circumstances surrounding your charge, and whether this is your first or fourth conviction, at The Law Place, our criminal defense lawyers will be here to support you and guide you through the legal process. Our attorneys will work to develop a defense strategy that can be used to fight for your rights in court. They will ensure you receive the best outcome possible, which may see penalties reduced or even dropped entirely. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.
What Are the Consequences for a BUI That Results in Injury or Death?
The consequences of an accident that results in injury or even death are horrendous for all those involved. Depending on the extent of injury and damage, repercussions and penalties will increase further and may include the following:
- If an accident causes property damage or injury to another person, then it is likely that the operator of the vessel will face a conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor. This conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year behind bars.
- If an accident results in serious bodily injury to another person, then the operator of the vessel will be charged with a third-degree felony. Penalties for a third-degree felony include $5,000 payable in fines and up to 5 years in prison.
- If a BUI accident results or contributes towards a person’s death, then you can be charged with a second-degree felony. Penalties for a second-degree felony include up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 payable in fines.
- Additionally, if the operator of the vessel fails to stop, then they can also be charged with manslaughter. Manslaughter will result in a conviction of a first-degree felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison.
If you have been charged with a BUI in Bradenton that resulted in injury or property damage, then it is strongly recommended to seek legal advice from an adept criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. A highly skilled lawyer will be able to analyze your case, and any evidence being used against you. They will advise you on the best steps to take in order to achieve the best outcome possible.
Contact The Law Place in Brandenton Today!
If you or a loved one has been charged with boating under the influence (BUI) in Florida that resulted in injuries, then it is important to seek advice from a reputable law firm. Here at The Law Place, we have a highly skilled team of criminal defense lawyers with an abundance of legal experience in handling cases involving BUI, as well as other related practice areas.
At our law firm, our lawyers pride themselves on creating honest attorney-client relationships built on trust. They will work to ensure you receive the best outcome possible, which may see your penalties reduced or even dropped. Many of our attorneys are AVVO rated 10.0, which is the highest possible rating, so you can rest assured that your case will be in experienced and competent hands.
At The Law Place, we offer all our customers a free consultation, where we will evaluate your case and offer valuable and comprehensive legal advice on the next best steps to take, all at no obligation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can be on hand to offer support and legal advice at any time of day.
What are you waiting for? Call us on (941) 444-4444 and arrange a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer today.