It’s officially summertime, which means it’s the perfect time to return to the water! It’s not a crime to enjoy a boat trip with a drink or two, but you must know your limits. Operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal in the state of Florida. Here’s what you need to know about the law and the consequences that follow:
According to Florida Statute Section 327.25, any person who operates a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be found guilty of boating under the influence. Even if you are taking a legal, prescription drug, you can still be charged with a DUI if it alters your ability to operate a vehicle.
Like driving a car, the BAC limit for boating is 0.08%. Just a reminder: you can be stopped on the water at any time. Law enforcement must have probable cause if they suspect you’re under the influence. However, they are allowed to stop you for proof of registration, safety checks, and random inspections.
Each case is different, meaning the consequences are different too. First-time offenders may receive fines up to $1,000 and, depending on the severity of their situation, up to 6 months in jail. Second-time offenders will see fines anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000 and up to 9 months in jail.
Third and fourth-time offenders have more serious consequences. If you are a third-time offender within ten years, you can expect up to $5,000 worth of fines and a potential year in prison. Once a person has a fourth BUI, they will be charged with a third-degree felony.
Injured by a Drunk Boater?
Avoiding a BUI is simple—if you take on the responsibility of operating a vehicle, you should reconsider having a drink. However, not everyone follows the rules, leading to severe accidents on the water.
If you or a loved one have been injured recently by a drunken boater, give Michles & Booth a call today. We want to make sure the other negligent party is held accountable. When you’re ready, contact our office at (800) 848-6168 or visit our website to get started on your free, no-risk consultation.