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Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Attorneys in Clearwater, Florida

In the state of Florida, it is unlawful to operate a boat, vessel, sailboard, or water ski while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, a defendant convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) may be subject to lengthy incarceration, substantial fines, license suspension, a criminal record, and other life-changing ramifications. If you have been arrested and charged with boating under the influence, retaining a highly-skilled Florida criminal defense attorney is crucial to help build your case. 

At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., we're committed to offering aggressive representation and reliable advocacy to clients in their drunk boating cases. Our dependable team can investigate all of the facts of your case and strategize a solid defense to maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome. In addition, we will fight vigorously for your rights, refute the accusations against you with significant evidence, and help ensure that those accusations don’t ruin your life. 

The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. proudly serve clients across Clearwater, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Tampa, New Port Richey, and St. Petersburg. 

BUI Charges in Florida

According to Florida law, a person is guilty of boating under the influence if he or she operates a vessel or boat: 

  • While under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances, which makes their normal faculties impaired

  • With a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or more 

  • With a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more 

However, the offense of boating under the influence isn't only limited to operating boats alone. Rather, you may be charged with BUI while operating all kinds of vessels and watercraft, including sailboards, water skis, barges, and airboats.

Advocating for Your Rights

Sobriety Tests and Your Rights

If you're suspected of boating while under the influence, a law enforcement officer may stop your vessel and request that you take some BUI tests, including field sobriety tests and chemical tests.  

BUI field sobriety exercises are often used to determine whether a boater is boating impaired or sober. However, these tests are not always accurate. Hence, BUI field sobriety tests are voluntary in Florida, and there is no punishment for refusing.  

Conversely, taking a breath or blood test is mandatory under Florida laws. Refusing a Breathalyzer or blood test after a BUI arrest may result in an automatic license suspension and other administrative penalties. 

Possible Penalties

The offense of boating under the influence is treated severely in Florida. If you're convicted of BUI, you may be subject to the following penalties and consequences: 

  • Jail time (ranging from months to years) 

  • Massive fines and court fees 

  • Suspension or revocation of boating privileges 

  • Community service 

  • Complete a boating safety course 

  • Probation 

  • Mandatory attendance at a drivers' intervention program 

Some other long-term consequences of a BUI conviction include: 

  • A criminal record/history 

  • Higher insurance rates or cancellation of insurance policy 

  • Deterioration of personal and professional relationships 

  • Increased difficulty in getting public assistance 

  • Increased difficulty in getting a new job and housing 

  • Ineligibility to obtain certain financial loans 

  • Loss of your rights to carry, possess, or own firearms 

If you or someone you know has been arrested or indicted for drunk boating, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Your legal counsel can strategize your best defenses and help you avoid the devastating penalties and implications of a drunk boating conviction. 

Possible Defenses

When charged with drunk boating, your lawyer can help fight the false allegations against you using any of these legal defenses: 

  • The officer didn't explain your rights to you properly. 

  • The officer failed to conduct the tests appropriately. 

  • The officer who administered the BUI test wasn't properly trained. 

  • The Breathalyzers used for the tests were not designed for water use. 

  • The Breathalyzer test wasn't correctly administered. 

  • The Breathalyzer was not accurately calibrated. 

  • It was a false-positive test result due to some medications you took. 

A reliable attorney can investigate every aspect of your case and determine the ideal defense to help fight your charges and achieve the best available outcome for your unique circumstances. 

Work With Reliable Criminal Defense Attorneys

Trying to defend your BUI accusations without skilled representation can increase your chances of getting convicted. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction might jeopardize your liberty, quality of life, career, reputation, and future. Therefore, when charged with boating under the influence, you need to hire a reliable criminal defense attorney for detailed guidance and to protect your rights. 

Our attorneys have devoted their careers to protecting individuals arrested and charged with BUI from the worst possible situation. Using our extensive knowledge, we can walk you through the Florida criminal justice system. In addition, we will fight aggressively to uphold your boating privileges, attempt to establish your innocence, and help keep your record as clean as possible. 

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Attorneys in Clearwater, Florida

Facing BUI charges can be terrifying and overwhelming. Don't face them alone. Contact us at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. today to schedule a simple case evaluation. Our reliable legal team can offer you the comprehensive guidance and strong representation you need in your case. We're proud to serve clients across Clearwater, Tampa, New Port Richey, and St. Petersburg, Florida.