About 100 law enforcement boats from some 20 agencies patrolled the Gasparilla pirate invasion in 2020 looking for drunk boat operators. According to the Tampa Police Department, the total number of boating under the influence arrests was fifteen.
The Tampa Police Department said there were nine arrests during Gasparilla 2019 for boating under the influence, down from fifteen the previous year.
Florida prohibits operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A vessel is any watercraft, barge, and airboat used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
It is against the law to operate a vessel while affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two, or having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. Boating under the influence charge can be based on actual drug or alcohol impairment or BAC.
What Are the Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Florida?
The penalties for a Florida boating under the influence (BUI) conviction depend on a number of factors, including whether the operator:
- has prior BUI or driving under the influence (DUI) conviction (BUIs and DUIs both count as priors)
- had an excessive BAC
- had a person under 18 years old in the vessel at the time of the offense, and
- caused or contributed to an accident involving property damage, injury, or death.
What Are the Fines for BUI?
Not less than $500 or more than $5,000, depending on the number of convictions, the blood/breath alcohol level, the length of time between convictions, and whether there was a minor on the vessel. CAN I BE SENTENCED TO IMPRISONMENT? A judge may direct that sentencing terms be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program and credited toward the term of imprisonment. The First conviction, not more than nine months, depending on the blood/breath alcohol level and whether there was a minor in the vessel. The second and third conviction, not more than 12 months, with mandatory imprisonment depending on the number of convictions, the blood/breath alcohol level, and the length of time between convictions. The Fourth or subsequent convictions, imprisonment for not more than five years.
Can My Vessel Be Impounded or Immobilized?
- First conviction – 10 days;
- A second conviction within five years of a prior conviction – 30 days;
- A third conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction – 90 days.
Do You or Someone You Know Need Help With a BUI?
If you or someone you know has been arrested for BUI, you are probably overwhelmed and confused as to what to do next. It is critical that you get help from an experienced BUI attorney. BUI cases are complex and require the help of someone with BUI experience. An experienced BUI attorney will be able to help you navigate through the complicated, interconnected mass of DUI laws and rules, and get you the best possible outcome.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
If you or someone you know has been arrested for BUI in the Tampa Bay area and need help, Fernandez & Hernandez will provide a free consultation and discuss the case with you. The BUI attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez will help guide you through the process. If you need legal assistance call Tampa BUI Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.