Boating is an extremely common past time in the state of Florida, as there is an estimated 11,000 square miles of waterways in the state not to mention the state is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, boating can be dangerous when someone intoxicated gets behind the wheel. As such, Florida law treats the offense of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI) in a similar manner as the offense of driving under the influence (DUI).
If you are found guilty of boating under the influence or faced with a boating DUI, you may be sentenced to fines and jail time, depending on the circumstances, just as you would with a standard DUI. The amount of fines and potential length of your incarceration will depend on whether the offense was a first offense or whether you have prior convictions. In any case, however, the best way to minimize potential penalties or even avoid conviction for your boating DUI is to contact a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer or BUI attorney. At The Ansara Law Firm, we have helped many clients accused of BUI. We can put our legal experience to work for you to act as your advocate and help you protect your legal rights.Boating DUI Rules
In the state of Florida, officers may board your boat to check for safety violations or to enforce fishing and registration laws. When a law enforcement officer boards your boat, or observes you boating and determines that you are behaving in an erratic or out-of-control manner that suggests intoxication, you may be ordered to submit to a test of your blood alcohol content. You are assumed to have given content to this test, and refusal to undergo a BAC test may result in a fine and may be used against you in your BUI case.
BUI, like DUI, is typically proved in court as a result of blood tests, Breathalyzer tests, urine tests or even field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable, while blood and urine tests may be more convincing evidence in a BUI case. Regardless of what evidence is used, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending n the circumstances surrounding the collection of the evidence against you, your Fort Lauderdale boating DUI attorney may have a number of possible suggestions for discrediting the evidence against you and introducing doubt. In addition, if your constitutional rights were violated, your DUI lawyer can work to have the evidence against you suppressed (kept out of court).
Having a DUI attorney who regularly handles boating DUI cases is very important because of the potential penalties for a conviction. For instance, first time offenders may spend up to six months incarcerated and pay fines between $500 and $1000. Penalties for repeat offenders only increase from there, with larger fines and longer periods of incarceration. Impounding of the boat, probation, community service and substance abuse counseling may also be a consequence of boating DUI violations. Your Boward County DUI lawyer will help you to do everything possible to avoid these penalties, including defending yourself or considering a plea bargain or diversion program.
If you have been charged with DUI in South Florida, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011! You can also contact us online. It only takes a minute to call, but it can make all the difference in the world.