Florida is a popular travel destination due to its amazing beaches and scenic views. Therefore, boating is very common here, and so are boat parties. Due to this, the number of people boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is rather high. The penalties for a BUI are very serious; just as the penalties for a DUI, neither should be taken lightly.
If you have been caught and arrested for a BUI in Clearwater, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Facing these charges alone can have some dire consequences, especially if your BUI resulted in property damage. It is much better to have an attorney on your side. They will meticulously gather evidence and devise the best defense possible.
What Does Boating Under the Influence Mean in Clearwater?
According to Florida Statute 327.35, it is illegal for anybody to be in control of a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term ‘vessel’ is a very broad term. It encompasses boats, barges, watercraft, and any other mode of transport used on the water. The above-mentioned statute defines boating under the influence as:
- If your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.8%.
- If you have consumed drugs and/or alcohol and your normal faculties have been impaired as a result.
Florida Statute 316.1934 outlines how law enforcement determine whether your normal faculties are impaired. It includes an impaired ability to walk, see, talk, judge distances, make decisions, and perform normal daily tasks. If, when tested, you cannot perform these tasks, you could be charged with a BUI.
If you have been arrested for a BUI in Clearwater, you are going to need the help of an experienced BUI attorney. They will go over all of the details of your case and determine whether your arrest was legitimate. The tests used to test a person’s faculties can be unreliable and possibly fought in court. Do not face these charges alone. Enlist the help of a defense lawyer today.
For a free legal consultation with a bui with property damage lawyer serving Clearwater, call 941-444-4444
What Happens if You Get a BUI in Clearwater, Florida?
The penalties associated with boating Under the Influence (BUI) and their severity depend heavily on several factors, such as:
- If you have prior convictions for BUIs or DUIs.
- How high your blood alcohol concentration was at the time you were tested.
- Whether you were the cause of an accident and how bad the accident was.
- Whether property damage or personal injury was caused as a result of your BUI.
- If there was a minor present (a person under the age of 18) when you were caught boating under the influence.
If you are caught for BUI in Clearwater, FL., you could be faced with some serious criminal charges. We advise that you get in touch with The Law Place and speak to a criminal defense lawyer. Call today and book a free consultation and find out what our team can do for you.
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First Offense BUI Penalties in Florida
If you have never been charged with a BUI in the past, you will be facing a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this, the penalties will include a fine not exceeding $1,000 and potentially a jail sentence of up to 6 months. By Florida law, a judge is bound to sentence first-time offenders to probation. Although, the judge cannot sentence you to more than a year of probation. There are mandatory terms involved with this probation period, such as 50 hours of community service and a 10-day impound or immobilization of the water vessel in question.
That being said, the penalties for your first BUI get much more serious if any of the following apply:
- If your blood alcohol concentration level was 0.15% or higher, or you had a passenger that was under the age of 18 onboard. While this is still classed as a second-degree misdemeanor, your prison sentence could be raised to 9 months, and your fine will be increased to anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
- If, while boating under the influence, you had an accident that caused personal injury or property damage, your charge will be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor. You can expect your prison sentence to be raised to 1 year and to receive a fine not exceeding $1,000.
- If, as a result of your action, serious bodily harm was caused to another party, the offense now becomes a third-degree felony. The penalties associated with charges such as these are a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine not exceeding $5,000.
- If your BUI has caused the death of another person, you could be facing a first or second-degree felony charge. A first-degree felony carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. If you are convicted of a felony in the second degree, you will be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you have been arrested for a BUI in Clearwater, FL., and these circumstances apply to you, it is very important that you contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we are waiting to take your case. Call today for a free consultation.
Second Offense BUI Penalties in Florida
In Clearwater, Florida, if you are caught a second time for boating under the influence, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. As a result, you will be facing a fine between $1,000 and $2,000, and your potential prison sentence will be up to 9 months. If this is your second BUI within 5 years, you will face a mandatory prison sentence of 10 days, and your vessel will be immobilized for a period of 30 days.
If this is your second BUI charge and other mitigating factors are at play, such as property damage, a high BAC level, or having a minor on board. You could be facing a fine between $2000 and $4000, and your jail sentence could be increased to 12 months.
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Third Offense BUI Penalties in Florida
According to Florida law, if you are charged with a third BUI or DUI within 10 years of one another, you will be facing a third-degree felony. This comes with a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine not exceeding $5,000. There is also a mandatory prison sentence of 30 days.
However, if your charges are more than 10 years apart, you will still be charged with a misdemeanor. You will be facing a prison sentence of up to 12 months and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000. If your blood alcohol concentration level was 0.15% or higher, or you had a minor on board, you will face a minimum fine of $4,000. You can also expect your vessel to be impounded or immobilized for a period of 90 days.
Will a Florida BUI Affect Your Driving License?
The laws surrounding a BUI in Clearwater, Florida, can be very difficult to navigate, especially without the help of a Clearwater defense attorney. If you are struggling to figure out the charges you are facing or the repercussions of the penalties, you should contact our law firm today. We will help you figure out the full extent of the charges bought against you and how to fight them.
A BUI in Clearwater will not affect your driving license. That being said, you will still be facing some very severe penalties and, potentially, a prison sentence. It will also be on your permanent criminal record. This can make things very difficult for you in the future. For example, if you apply for a job or try to rent a property, you will be subject to a background check. This blemish on your record could seriously harm your chances of being hired or being accepted to rent the property.
If you have been charged with a BUI in Clearwater, then call The Law place today! The attorneys at our law firm will do everything in their power to get your charges reduced or even dropped.
What Can a BUI attorney Do for You in Clearwater, Florida?
Here, at The Law Place, we understand how stressful charges, such as a BUI resulting in property damage, can be. So, with that in mind, we strive to handle as many aspects of this case as we can. Upon contacting our law firm, you will be offered a free consultation. During which, you will be asked a series of simple questions to determine the details of your case and exactly what charges you are facing. An experienced criminal defense attorney will explain all of the costs you can expect, so you will not receive any surprise bills.
We will then conduct an in-depth investigation into the event surrounding your Florida BUI resulting in property damage. Our law firm has your best interests at heart, and we will do everything we can to defend you.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Have you been charged with a BUI in Clearwater? Did your BUI result in property damage? Then call us today and seek the help of an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at our law firm have a combined experience of over 75 years and, by working together, we ensure that you benefit from every second of it.
Do not face your charges alone! Contact The Law Place today and book a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.