The Sunshine State is well-known and well-beloved for its beautiful waterways and warm beaches and has become a hot destination for boaters and boating enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the high number of boaters also leads to a high incidence of boating accidents. In fact, Floridahas more boating accidents than any other state in the country. Boating under the influence in Florida significantly increases the risk of an accident on the water, and if you are charged with an alcohol-related infraction while driving a boat, you should speak to a team of Miami defense lawyers who can defend your rights.
Being Stopped for Boating Under the Influence in Florida
On the roads, a police officer must have probable cause to stop a motor vehicle, but a boat may be stopped and boarded for virtually any reason, such as enforcing safety or fishing regulations and checking registration. It is not necessary for an officer to have reasonable suspicion of a criminal act to stop and board a vessel.
You can be arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) even if the motor is not running, and the keys are not in the ignition. As long as you have physical control of the vessel – which can be as simple as being seated in the driver’s chair – you can be arrested for a BUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit.
If you are stopped while you are boating and drinking, remember that you have certain rights. You are not disallowed from drinking while operating a boat provided you are not impaired.
If you have been charged with boating under the influence in Florida, you may be in jeopardy of losing your boating privileges, being charged steep financial penalties or even being imprisoned. Contact your Miami defense lawyers who are dedicated to helping you defend your rights.
Boating under the influence in Florida is considered a very serious crime, and it’s important that you know what to do if you are ever arrested or accused of a BUI. A team of Miami defense lawyers will fight to defend your rights and hold the prosecution responsible for meeting the full burden of demonstrating their case and proving guilt, as well as work to mitigate the impact the charges have on your life, such as negotiating for the lightest possible penalty.
Being Charged for Boating Under the Influence in Florida
When speaking with officials, it’s important to answer questions you are asked calmly and honestly without revealing how much you’ve had to drink, which can pre-dispose an officer against you. Law enforcement officials seek boaters who drive erratically, so follow all safety procedures and conduct yourself accordingly when you are out on the water.
If law enforcement officials stop you and you are arrested for boating under the influence, you have a limited window of time in which to take action. The first thing you should do is speak with an attorney who has handled BUI cases like yours before.
If you have a commercial boat license, a BUI may cause you to lose your license for long periods of time, even permanently. Additionally, a BUI may affect your car insurance rates as well, so speaking with a lawyer is crucial.
The state must prove you were impaired when you were operating the vessel, not simply that you were drinking. There is no law against drinking alcohol while operating a vessel, provided you are not impaired. This makes BUI cases much different from DUI cases, although some of the procedures and many of the penalties are comparable. Speak with a lawyer who will defend your rights and hold the state accountable for its burden of proof.
Contacting a Team of Miami Defense Lawyers
If you are facing charges for boating under the influence in Florida, your legal team is your best defense. The attorneys you choose to represent you in court, defend your rights, and relentlessly pursue your case could be the difference between jail time and getting on with your life. Contact one of our Miami Defense lawyers at Falk & Ross for a no-cost evaluation of your case – 1-877-663-5110.