BUI - BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Lee County has the most registered boats in Florida. Boating is practically a part of life. It’s often a shock to be cited or arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) while taking the boat out for a cruise or a fishing jaunt.
In the eyes of the law, boating after a few drinks (or a lot of drinks) is a serious matter. BUI is a misdemeanor crime. While there are no sanctions for your Florida driver’s license, a conviction carries possible jail time or probation, stiff fines and a criminal record. Do not underestimate these BUI penalties.
The Fort Myers law firm of Steven Wetter, Attorney at Law can capably represent you to minimize the penalties or possibly keep this off your record. It is especially critical to get legal counsel if you have prior DUI or BUI convictions, if you had a high blood-alcohol level, if someone was injured, or if you had children on board at the time.
We take BUI seriously. Contact us today for a free consultation. We serve Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Beach, Punta Gorda and all communities of Lee County and Charlotte County.
It is not illegal to operate a boat with a beer in your hand and 11 more in the cooler. There are no white lines or traffic lights on the Caloosahatchee, Charlotte Harbor or the open sea. But if a water patrol officer believes you are operating carelessly, or if it sounds like you are having too much fun to be sober, you can be stopped, questioned and subjected to sobriety tests. If you blow .08, you can be arrested and charged with BUI.
Under Florida BUI law, a BUI does not impact your driver’s license, but your speedboat, fishing boat or personal watercraft (Jet Ski) can be impounded. A first-time conviction carries a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail. A second offense carries a maximum of $1,000 fine and nine months in jail. A third conviction is a felony, punishable by up to a year in prison. Causing injury or death while boating under the influence is a serious felony, with a similar punishment to DUI manslaughter.
We are forever grateful for the help he provided
Criminal defense lawyer Steve Wetter will raise any mitigating factors, such as your otherwise clean record or the recklessness of other boaters. He will challenge the validity of field sobriety tests, especially those conducted on a floating, rocking vessel. He analyzes every aspect of the prosecution’s case, starting with the patrol officer’s justification for stopping your boat in the first place. If there was no probable cause, then any resulting evidence is vulnerable to suppression. We work every angle to get your BUI case dismissed or reduced to a lesser citation to avoid the harsh sanctions.