Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Tampa BUI Attorneys

Challenging BUI Arrests & Charges Since 2001

With its prime coastal location and numerous waterways, Florida residents are known for having fun in the sun. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. If you are boating while intoxicated, you could be charged with boating under the influence (BUI). Having a blood alcohol level (BAL) over 0.08% is considered evidence of intoxication. However, just being arrested does not mean that you will be convicted.

If you want to know your legal options following a boating under the influence charge, call our Tampa BUI lawyers at (813) 221-4200 for a free consultation.

"Why Was I Arrested? I Wasn't Even Drunk!"

When stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, it is essential 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. Heat exposure can make you fatigued, which can mirror the symptoms of being drunk. There are also "stressors" that can 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 and wind
  • Spray of the water

All of these factors 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 promotes the safety of boaters nationwide. To cut down on BUI injuries and deaths, the Coast Guard offers 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 U.S. Coast Guard. 

Charged with Drinking & Boating in Tampa?

No matter the nature of your charges or which type of vessel you were operating, you need the help of a Tampa BUI attorney. An attorney will take steps to protect your rights. At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is BUI defense. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide expanse of experience in helping our clients. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms.

It doesn't matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on us 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 they 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 boating are serious. You cannot afford to wait. 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. 

Contact our Tampa BUI defense attorneys today to schedule your free, private initial consultation!

Skilled BUI Defense

Boating under the influence charges can have serious consequences on a personal, financial, and professional level. Put your future in competent hands with the Tampa BUI defense lawyers at Thomas & Paulk in your corner. We fight tirelessly for every client's rights.

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