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Orlando BUI Lawyer

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Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

It is no surprise that many residents of the Sunshine State own boats and take them out whenever possible. This is a wonderful luxury of being a Floridian and should absolutely be enjoyed. However, it is also important to know that it is not in your best interest to go overboard (pun intended). Everybody knows that driving under the influence is a crime, but not as many people know that boating under the influence is also a crime. Not to mention, it is also extremely dangerous. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were over 800 boating accidents in 2020. Information from the United States Coast Guard shows that alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating incidents. Because of these facts, boating under the influence is taken very seriously. If you are convicted guilty of this offense, you could be facing some big consequences. This is one of the reasons why it is crucial for you to know what your rights are and should turn to an experienced attorney who will effectively defend you against these charges.

Boating Under the Influence Defined

Drinking and boating, in and of itself if not a crime. Per Florida Statute 327.35, a person can be arrested for boating under the influence either if their normal faculties are noticeably impaired or if they have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, higher than 0.08. In instances where a boat operator is under the legal drinking, they can be charged with Boating Under the Influence if their blood alcohol concentration is over 0.02. Now, when it comes to determining whether a person’s normal faculties are impaired, it is often up to the discretion of the law enforcement officer investigating the matter. This is one big reason why having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your corner is important. An attorney who has experience handling boating under the influence cases will scrupulously review your specific case and find out whether or not law enforcement made a mistake, had probable cause and substantial evidence to arrest you for BUI.

Important Steps Following a Boating Under the Influence Arrest

If you have been charged with boating under the influence, there are certain steps you should take immediately following the arrest. The way you interact with law enforcement may not seem like it will have much or even any bearing on your case moving forward, but this is simply untrue. This interaction can be crucial for your case. It is extremely important for you to exercise your right to remain silent, while still treating law enforcement officers respectfully. Anything you do or say during this time can be later used against you in court. The next step you should take is to reach out to a criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of boating under the influence cases. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the sooner they can begin formulating effective defense strategies.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence

Boating under the influence has the potential to cause serious accidents. Even worse, there is potential of people being injured or killed. After all, Florida has the greatest number of boating deaths in the United States every year. Because of these statistics, the State of Florida lays down the hammer when prosecuting these cases. Some penalties can include:

First Offense:

  • Fines between $200 and $500
  • A period of up to six (6) months in jail
  • Boat impoundment for ten (10) days

Second Offense:

  • Minimum of $1,000 in fines
  • A period of up to nine (9) months in jail
  • Suspension or revocation of boating privileges
  • Boat impoundment for thirty (30) days

Third Offense:

  • Fines between $2,000 and $5,000
  • A period of up to twelve (12) months in jail
  • A period of up to five (5) years in prison
  • Felony conviction

Fourth Offense:

  • Minimum of $2,000 in fines
  • Up to five (5) years in prison
  • Felony conviction 

Aggravated Penalties and Charges

In some cases, boating under the influence charges may be considered “aggravated”. This is true of cases in which the actions of the accused individual are determined to be more dangerous or severe. This also means that the penalties could be much harsher. A BUI charged may become aggravated if:

  • A person under the age of eighteen (18) years old was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident
  • The incident resulted in an accident that contributed to or caused property damage
  • The incident resulted in an accident that another caused or contributed to bodily injury or death

Common Defenses to Boating Under the Influence

A criminal defense attorney with extensive knowledge of common prosecutorial strategies will put you at a huge advantage when disputing boating under the influence charges. Attorney Rahul Y. Parikh not only has this understanding through his work as a defense attorney, but he also spent many years working as an Orange County prosecutor. His time as a prosecutor allowed him to see firsthand the approaches that prosecutors often take in these types of cases. This experience has given him the ability to truly formulate the most effective defense strategies. Some common defenses to boating under the influence include:

  • Illegal Stop
  • Improper field sobriety test 
  • Insufficient probable cause
  • Inadmissible breath test results

Why Choose Parikh Law?

When you are facing criminal charges, you are at risk of having your whole life altered. Without legal representation, that risk greatly increases. Attorney Rahul Y. Parikh and his team will work zealously to defend your rights and get your charges lowered or even dismissed altogether. Parikh Law, P.A. makes it our number one priority to defend those who have been accused of crime to the very fullest. This does not just mean fighting in the courtroom. This also means keeping clients informed throughout the entire process and being available to answer questions. It means treating clients with the same respect and compassion as we would treat members of our own families. Our goal is to provide superior service all-around to those who put their trust in our firm. We understand that we are all human and this means sometimes, we all make mistakes. Despite mistakes made, we genuinely believe that everyone should have a fair shot at redeeming themselves and we dedicate ourselves to being the voice that advocates for your chance at redemption. If you are facing boating under the influence charges, there is already a great amount of stress consuming your life. Here at Parikh La, P.A., we want to do all that we possibly can to shoulder as much of that stress, so that you do not have to. See what our past clients have to say and see for yourself what our firm can do for you during this challenging time in your life. We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to defend your rights. All of our initial consultations are of no cost to you and they are also strictly confidential. You will be able to speak directly with Attorney Parikh about your situation during your consultation and we will begin working on your case that same day if you choose to hire our firm. Set up your free and confidential consultation today.