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Boating Under the Influence


West Palm Beach Boating Under the Influence Attorney David W. Olson

Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, is similar in many ways to Driving Under the Influence. It is illegal to operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A conviction for BUI can potentially result in expensive fines, incarceration, probation, mandatory alcohol or drug program and other court sanctions. In some cases the court may impound or seize the boat. If you were arrested for Boating Under the Influence, it is advisable to hire an experienced attorney who will protect your legal rights and pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Attorney David W. Olson has more than 33 years of experience representing thousands of clients in West Palm Beach and South Florida for BUI, DUI and other serious felonies and misdemeanors. A free case review is available.

Florida Boating Under the Influence Statute

Boating Under the Influence falls under Chapter 327 of the Florida Statutes. Some of the relevant sections of the statute include the following:

  • (1) A person is guilty of the offense of boating under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is operating a vessel within this state and:
  • (a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111 or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal facilities are impaired;
  • (b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • (c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

It should be noted that the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies do not need probable cause to stop a boat or to board it. The authorities do not need to believe that any criminal acts have occurred on the vessel. Additionally, both Florida and federal law enforcement agencies may have jurisdiction of the waterways in Florida waters.

If a boat operator causes an accident resulting in serious injury or death, under some circumstance he or she may be forced to give a blood sample if impairment is suspected. It is advisable to discuss this with Attorney Olson.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence

A conviction can result in the following:

  • First conviction: $500 – $1,000 fine, and up to 6 months imprisonment
  • Second conviction: $1,000 – $2,000, and up to 9 months imprisonment
  • Third conviction outside of a 10 year prior: $2,000 – $5000 fine, and up to 12 months imprisonment
  • Third conviction within 10 years: up to 5 years imprisonment
  • There are other BUI offenses, including, but not limited to:
  • BUI causing or contributing to property damage: up to 12 months imprisonment (first degree misdemeanor)
  • BUI causing or contributing to serious bodily injury to another: third degree felony, up to 5 years prison
  • BUI manslaughter, second degree, causing or contributing to death: second degree felony, up to 15 years prison
  • If the operator of a boat is under 21 years of age and has a BAC of .02 or higher, they can be charged with BUI

Law Offices of David W. Olson, Aggressive Defense for Boating Under the Influence

Attorney David W. Olson has defended thousands of clients over the past 33 years, including those charged with Boating Under the Influence, Driving Under the Influence, BUI manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, drug offenses and other serious felonies and misdemeanors.

  • Attorney Olson is a recipient of the highest possible Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Rating – 5.0 out of a possible 5.0 – for his professional ability and high ethical standards. This award is presented to less than 5% of all attorneys.
  • Attorney Olson was chosen as a member of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trials Lawyers.
  • Attorney Olson was awarded with the National Association of Distinguished Counsel Top 1%.

It is advisable to retain legal counsel as soon as possible after a BUI arrest. In this way Attorney Olson will be able to immediately handle your case and pursue the most favorable results possible. Early intervention will allow Attorney Olson to immediately review the charges and the evidence against you. In some cases early intervention has resulted in dismissals and reduced charges.

Attorney David Olson represents clients in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and throughout the entire state. For a free and confidential case review, call 561-833-8866.


Chapter 327, Florida Statutes (2014)

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