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With its prime coastal location and numerous waterways, Florida residents are known for having fun in the sun. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. Just as with driving, if you have been found to be boating while intoxicated or under the influence, you could be charged with BUI. Having a blood alcohol level over 0.08 percent is considered evidence of intoxication; unfortunately, there are certain factors of boating which can aggravate symptoms or make it appear that you are drunker than you are. However, just being arrested does not mean that you will be convicted with a BUI offense.
If you want to know your legal options following a BUI charge, speak with our Tampa BUI lawyers at 813-321-7323 for a free review of your case.
“Why Was I Arrested? I Wasn’t Even Drunk!”
When stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to note that just because your BAL is under the legal limit does not mean you will not be arrested. Some circumstances can make officers determine you’ve had too much to drink, even if you are not over the legal limit. However, some conditions can make a boat operator appear drunk even if they are not.
For example, heat exposure can make you fatigued, which can mirror the symptoms of being drunk. There are also "stressors" that can make you more susceptible to alcohol or cause symptoms that mirror intoxication.
These stressors all come from the marine-type environment, such as:
- Motion of the Boat
- Sound of the Engine
- Heat & Wind
- Spray of the Water
All of these can cause a driver to become fatigued and display symptoms resembling drunkenness. The Coast Guard warns that these stressors can also cause a boat operator to lose coordination, judgment, and reaction time faster than someone who was drinking on land. This is made worse by the fact that boat operators often do not have the benefit of experience.
Tips for Avoiding BUI Arrests
The Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division (CD-5422) promotes the safety and well-being of boaters throughout the nation. To cut down on BUI-related injuries and deaths, the USCG provides the following tips:
- Make sure you are well-stocked with non-alcoholic alternatives
- Wear clothing that will keep all boaters comfortable and cool
- Have a timeline for your trip to avoid staying out past fatigue
- After drinking, wait before getting back into the boat
- The best way to stay safe is to avoid drinking altogether when boating
BUI Defense in Florida
BUI charges do not always fall under Florida jurisdiction. If you are boating close to shore, on a lake, or a river within Florida, this will fall under state jurisdiction. However, if you are boating in open water, your charges could become a federal offense. Federal BUI cases are handled by the United States Coast Guard—these cases are often very serious and require the help of an experienced attorney.
No matter the nature of your charges or which type of vessel you were operating during your arrest, you need the help of a Tampa BUI attorney. An attorney will take steps to protect your rights; at our firm, we know these steps and will do everything possible to ensure that you are defended against any potential criminal charges. With over 7,000 cases handled, our firm is the proven defender you need.
Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. as soon as possible to learn more and to schedule your initial case consultation!
Drunk driving cases may or many not require a formal trial. We discuss what most can expect in terms of the process and duration of their DUI case.
At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to have the experience to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.
The important thing is that you act quickly. Criminal cases involving charges of drinking and driving are serious and they can move fast. You cannot afford to wait or ignore your charges. You need a legal professional on your side who truly understands what you're facing so that they can offer you experience counsel and sound advice. To learn more about how a lawyer like this can assist with your case, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Call our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk today to schedule an initial consultation. This is a completely free, confidential appointment for you to tell us your side of the story.
If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.
A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.
Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.
Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.