The Fourth of July is a day often spent with loved ones, relaxing, and enjoying the national holiday. Many of us may choose to spend the sunny Florida day out on the water. Before opting to drink alcohol while out on the boat, however, it is important to know that drinking while driving a boat is just as serious as drinking while driving an automobile.

In Florida, Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, is against the law.

In preparation of this July 4th, let us share with you what you need to know about Boating Under the Influence.

First, what exactly is BUI? Florida law states that it is illegal to operate a “vessel” under the influence of drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol. A “vessel,” for these purposes, includes a watercraft used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on the water. If you are stopped for suspected BUI, you may be charged if your blood alcohol concentration is higher than the legal limit for your state or if you are “affected to the extent the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”

Further, did you know that you may receive less protection on a boat than in an automobile? While DUI and BUI are similar, they also have one important difference. While on a boat, local law enforcement, federal customs officials, and the United States Coast Guard can board your boat at any time if they suspect you are engaging in an illegal activity.

Above all, if you have been charged with Boating Under the Influence, do not wait to contact a member of our local, experienced legal defense team.

There are particularly harsh penalties if you are convicted for BUI, including vessel impoundment, imprisonment, and fines. Remember, once you have been charged, the case against you will have to be proven. It is important to discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding your case with our team to determine the best legal strategies and defenses available to you.

This Fourth of July, we encourage you to think twice before boating while intoxicated. If you do, however, have a BUI-related issue this upcoming holiday, we want you to receive the best representation possible. If you have been charged with BUI, do not wait to contact a member of our experienced legal defense team to schedule a free case evaluation today. We are the community law firm here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.