Boating Under the Influence (“BUI”)
Under § 327.35, Florida Statutes, a person may be guilty of Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, if they are found to be operating a vessel within the state of Florida and they are either impaired beyond normal faculties or they have a blood or breath alcohol content over 0.08. This is similar to Florida’s DUI laws. BUI is also similar to DUI in that it is an “enhanced” offense. This means although a first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, with each subsequent arrest the penalties become more severe. The major difference with BUI is that there is no consequence with regard to your driving privileges like in a DUI.
There are numerous issues a skilled BUI attorney can challenge in these cases. First, most arrests involve the execution of Standard Field Sobriety Exercises (“SFSEs”). These are exceedingly difficult to perform on a boat, on waves, in the wind, and on a slippery surface. Sometimes the officers will use “modified” exercises called Seated Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises which are untested in Florida courts. The next issue is the breath test. In many cases, the accused person is placed in custody while their boat is towed to a dock, then the accused is transported to wherever the officer has a vehicle parked, and then they are finally transported to the jail to have the breath test administered. This creates an issue because so much time has elapsed that it makes it difficult to prove the accused was actually impaired at the time they were still operating a vessel.
The attorneys at Murphy & Downs have become certified in the same courses police must complete in order to perform SFSEs. Our attorneys know how to look for the many mistakes police make in BUI arrests and we know how to use those mistakes to get BUI cases dismissed.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for BUI, contact Murphy & Downs today for a free consultation.
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