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Melbourne BUI Attorney

A BUI arrest can lead to serious legal consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even potential imprisonment. It is crucial to seek legal counsel from a Melbourne BUI attorney following an arrest to understand your rights if you face such charges. 

Melbourne, Florida, is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. Boating is a popular activity off the Space Coast year-round with its breathtaking clear water and temperate climate. Mixing boating and alcohol, however, can turn a lovely day on the water into a legal mess, possibly leading to a BUI arrest. 

Authorities treat boating while intoxicated (BUI) seriously due to the potential for accidents and harm it poses. If you have been arrested under suspicion of BUI, you need a Melbourne BUI attorney right away.

Florida Boating Laws

It is not illegal to drink alcohol or consume drugs on a boat. It is unlawful, however, to operate a boat while under the influence. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Florida is .08%, so it does not take very much alcohol to be considered impaired and make yourself susceptible to a BUI arrest. Add the uncertain conditions of weather, waves, and other boaters, and you can see why operating a boat while under the influence can present a dangerous situation.

To keep the waterways as safe as possible, law enforcement constantly patrols, looking for boaters who are behaving in an unsafe manner. If you have been arrested under the suspicion of BUI, you must find legal representation immediately.

What Are The Penalties For A BUI In Florida?

Much like DUI penalties, a first-time conviction for boating under the influence can result in significant consequences, and these consequences become more severe with repeated convictions.

  • First BUI conviction – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • Second BUI conviction – Up to nine months in jail and a $2,000 fine
  • Third BUI conviction – Up to five years in prison if the third conviction is within ten years of the second; one year in jail if the third conviction occurred more than ten years after the second; $5,000 fine

Additional penalties for BUI in Florida can include probation for one year for the first offense, with more extended probation periods for subsequent offenses. You may also be required to complete 50 hours of community service and attend substance abuse counseling. Your watercraft can be impounded for at least ten days for a first conviction with a longer impound period with subsequent convictions.

Aggravated BUI Charges

The prosecutor may seek aggravated BUI charges if the defendant has previous DUI or drug convictions, if the boater’s BAC is .15% or higher, or if minors were on board when the boater was stopped by law enforcement for suspicion of BUI.

Evidence Used By The Prosecutor For A BUI Conviction

Like any criminal case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke the law. Evidence that may be used during a BUI case includes:

  • The officer’s observations at the time of the arrest
  • There is reasonable suspicion of the boater being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Trash and debris on the watercraft that would indicate alcohol use
  • Reckless behavior
  • Witness testimony
  • Passenger testimony
  • And other evidence

At The Law Office of John A. Spellacy, PLLC, I work only with criminal defense cases, and I am well-versed in BUI defense. I will put my skills to work for you to cast doubt on the prosecution’s claims and give you the best chance at acquittal or a lesser sentence. 

What Are The Defenses Against BUI Charges?

As your Melbourne BUI attorney, I will thoroughly investigate the evidence the prosecution will present and work to dispel their theories. My defense tactics may include the following:

  • Challenging the admissibility of evidence due to improper search and seizure. If the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to search the watercraft, they would be legally unable to board, and any evidence gathered would be inadmissible.
  • Challenging the claim that the person arrested for BUI was operating the boat during the law enforcement stop. As mentioned above, it is not illegal to drink on a boat, and a boater may choose to let someone else take the wheel who was not drinking.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Arrested For BUI?

If you have been arrested for BUI, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced BUI lawyer. Every BUI case is unique, and I will delve into the details of your circumstances to formulate the most appropriate and effective strategy for your defense. I aggressively pursue the outcomes my clients are looking for.

Contact my firm today to discuss how I can help with your BUI defense.

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