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Keep your Independence on a Boat this 4th of July

On a Boat this 4th of July? Keep your INDEPENDENCE by staying safe, drinking responsibly, and keeping the following in mind. . .

Yes, BUI is a thing.

There is no minimum age to drive a boat, but you still need to remain safe and careful when out on the water. This also includes DRINKING and BOATING. BUI is, in fact, a thing.
  • It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence, or BUI, must submit to sobriety tests and a physical or chemical test to determine blood- or breath-alcohol content.shutterstock_16924108
  • In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or above .08.
  • Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.
  • Convictions for a (BUI) with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction; not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; and imprisonment for not more than 6 months for a first conviction or not more than 9 months for a second conviction.
  • If you are convicted of a third BUI violation within 10 years after a prior conviction for BUI, it is considered a third-degree felony.
  • In addition, if your blood-alcohol level was15% or higher, a fine will be imposed of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a first conviction; not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000 for a second conviction; not less than $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction, and imprisonment for not more than 9 months for a first conviction and not more than 12 months for a second conviction.
  • Kids onboard? Penalties may be increased if children were on the boat, or if a boating accident caused death or serious bodily injury
*A legislative bill filed in Feb. wants to put BUIs on your Driving Record, too.

Accident on the Water?

If you’re involved in an accident, you have to give aid and report the accident to the proper authorities. Florida law requires that the operator of a vessel involved in a boating accident where there is personal injury beyond immediate first-aid, death, disappearance of any person under circumstances which indicate death or injury, or if there is damage to the vessel(s) and/or personal property of at least $2,000, must, by the quickest means possible, give notice to one of the following: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred, or the police chief of the municipality in which the accident occurred.

Coming Aboard, Captain.

Boaters on the water have limited 4 th Amendment Rights. This means that law enforcement is free to come on board boats in the waterways (rivers, lakes, the ocean, canals, etc.) at any time and for almost any reason. If your boat is stopped on a waterway, simply give them any paperwork they ask for and allowing them access to the boat. You are not required to answer any questions.

Other Boating Penalties

  • Anyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property will be cited for reckless operation (a first-degree misdemeanor).speed-boat-320088_640
  • All operators are responsible for operating their vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other vessel traffic, posted restrictions, the presence of a divers-down flag and other circumstances so as not to endanger people or property. Failure to do so is considered careless operation (a non-criminal infraction).
  • All vessels are required to have onboard a wearable USCG-approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person. The PFDs must be of the appropriate size for the intended wearer, be in serviceable condition, and within easy access.
Arrested for DUI or BUI? Call Colbert Law at (407) 705-3220 or #DUI from your AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile phone! shark-310864_1280