With an intact natural environment and 95 miles of freshwater canals, North Port offers perfect conditions for outside activities, such as boating and boat parties. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs is always at least a second-degree misdemeanor. When caught in this situation, you will be charged and could face life-changing consequences.
If you have been charged for BUI in North Port, then it is highly recommended to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney and seek legal advice as soon as possible. At The Law Place, our team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys will fight to have your charges reduced or dropped if possible when working your case. If you would like to receive a free consultation, call our law firm today and take advantage of our 75 years of collective experience. You can schedule a free case evaluation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as our phone lines are continuously open. Call our North Port office today at (941)-444-4444 and ask for legal advice for your BUI case.
How Is Boating Under the Influence Defined in North Port?
The laws relating to boating under the influence (BUI) may seem familiar, as they are quite close to the laws that apply to driving under the influence (DUI) cases. Operating a vessel or vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in the State of Florida.
As written in Florida Statute 327.35, BUI is explained as operating or controlling a vessel on any water while intoxicated. The word vessel can be interpreted as a variety of transport modes, including seaplanes, boats, barges, watercraft, and any other type of transport that can be used on the water.
If you get caught when you have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% (or more), or your normal faculties have been impaired due to consumption of some illegal substances (alcohol or drugs), then it is possible that you may be charged with BUI. The term ‘normal faculties’ include but is not limited to seeing, talking, hearing, walking, judging distances, and making judgments. This also refers to mental and physical acts that are usually performed with ease.
If you were boating under the influence (BUI), and it resulted in property damage in North Port, it is strongly recommended to seek legal representation from a criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will help you through your case with their extensive expertise and will act as your legal support when you are in need.
Penalties for Boating Under the Influence That Resulted in Property Damage
Several factors may affect the penalties of your BUI that resulted in the property damage charge in North Port. For example:
- If you already have a prior conviction for boating or driving under the influence (BUI or DUI).
- If your BUI caused property damage, personal injury, or accidental death.
- If you caused an accident as a result of a BUI.
- If there was a person on board the vessel that was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.
- If your blood alcohol level was 0.15% or higher when you were tested. The higher your blood alcohol level, the more severe charges you may face.
If this was your first boating under the influence (BUI) offense, and you have never been caught or charged with BUI before, you will probably face a second-degree misdemeanor charge. It means paying fines from $500 to $1.000 and a prison sentence of up to 6 months. Additionally, the court may put you on probation for up to 1 year, regardless of any other charges imposed. As a part of the conditions of your probation, you may be required to participate in community service, as well as the impoundment or immobilization of the vessel for 10 days.
Unfortunately, these are the most lenient penalties you will be facing. For consecutive convictions, the consequences will be raised.
You will be charged with a fine ranging between $1,000 and $2,000 and a potential jail sentence of up to 9 months for a second conviction. But if you are charged with BUI for a second time within 5 years, then you should expect a compulsory minimum prison sentence of 10 days and impoundment or immobilization of your vessel for 30 days.
When you have been convicted for the third time, and at least one prior sentence occurred within the last 10 years, you will be likely charged with a felony of the third degree. This means paying fines of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison. Additionally, the court will require impoundment or immobilization of your vessel for 90 days. However, if you are convicted of a third violation that occurred more than 10 years after the date of the last offense, this will also result in charges up to $5,000, but the time behind bars will be no longer than 12 months.
In case of the fourth or any subsequent convictions, the charges are similar to a third conviction, which is up to $5,000 in fines and up to 5 years in prison.
As an addition to any fine or sentence, the court may require attendance at a substance abuse course that will be specified by the court. The offender must pay the cost of this education.
No matter whether this is your first or subsequent offense with property damage, we will be able to analyze your case and advise you on the best next steps for your circumstances. If you are facing criminal charges, your best next move will likely be to seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney. We are a law firm with highly experienced attorneys who specialize in criminal cases of BUI and DUI, including property damage and bodily injury cases. Phone The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation.
Effects of Boating Under the Influence in North Port, Florida
Generally speaking, BUI is considered similar to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). However, there are few factors that make BUI even more dangerous than DUI.
After the consumption of alcohol or drugs, your normal faculties can be impaired. This leads to problems with judgment, reaction speed, and general motor coordination. Such factors can significantly reduce your ability to steer a boat safely. Furthermore, water conditions can be more unpredictable and unstable than the road conditions. The wave direction and the wind force in stormy weather can be very difficult to deal with and may cause the boat to rock. Adding to this the possibility of glare, when the sun reflects off the water, this may reduce the visibility of other vessels, people, or animals in the water.
Due to all these circumstances, the chances of an accident increase when boating under the influence, which may result in property damage or damage to another boat. It could even cause personal injury or loss of life. If your BUI resulted in property damage, personal injury, or loss of life, then it is very likely you will receive severe penalties.
Contact our law firm today to receive a free case evaluation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Why Do I Need a Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been involved in BUI with property damage in Florida and are now facing criminal charges, you do not have to go through this on your own. At The Law Place, we have been helping people with similar cases to yours for years, and we understand how stressful this situation can be for you. A trusted and highly skilled criminal defense lawyer will help you by assessing your case and advising you on the best next steps to achieve a successful outcome.
With a combined experience of over 75 years, our attorneys will do everything in their power to see your charges reduced or even eliminated. They have legal expertise in handling cases that involve BUI with property damage and bodily injuries, as well as other related practice areas. Many of our lawyers are AVVO rated 10.0, which is the highest possible rating, so you can rest assured that your case is safe hands.
We care about an honest attorney-client relationship and want to build one based on trust, so we offer a free consultation to all our clients. In which, we will analyze your case for free, all at no-obligation. After this, it will be your decision whether you are going to proceed with our law firm. If you choose our representation, we will begin a detailed investigation of your case and prepare a strong and effective defense strategy. During this consultation, all legal costs will be outlined and presented to you. We operate on a no-win-no-fee basis, so the bill at the of the legal process will not be a nasty surprise, and there are no hidden fees.
Contact The Law Place in North Port Today!
If you have been charged for BUI with property damage in Florida, contact us as soon as possible to seek legal advice from an adept criminal defense lawyer. In such circumstances, it is important to receive support from a reputable law firm. We can help. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can be here whenever you need us.
What are you waiting for? Do not hesitate any longer. We will do everything we can to support you in Florida. Contact us today at (941)-444-4444 to get started with your case.