Tampa Boating Under the Influence Lawyer
When most people think of operating a vehicle while under the influence, they think of drunk driving. But problems can also arise if you are caught boating under the influence, as a Florida BUI charge can carry some very serious consequences both legally and in other areas of your life.
Florida actually leads the nation in the number of boating accident fatalities and according to some studies, as many as one-third of all boating deaths involve an impaired operator. In addition to the risk of being involved in a boating collision, there are other dangers such as a capsizing or falling overboard.
Florida prosecutors take a hard stance on pursuing boating under the influence cases, so it’s essential for you to seek help from an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer who can work to protect your interests and your freedom.
Robin Fuson, P.A. is a former prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer who has been in practice for over 23 years. Eight of those years were spent prosecuting crimes in the role of chief of narcotics prosecution and former chief of DUI prosecution for the Florida State Attorney’s Office. This experience has provided Attorney Fuson with important insights and experience that enables him to maximize your chances of seeing a positive case conclusion.
Attorney Fuson has an interesting background because before he was an attorney, he was racking up the wins as a professional baseball player. Throughout his career, he played for Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Oakland, ultimately winning a World Series ring and two championship rings. His passion for winning has made him a top pick for those who are facing BUI charges in Florida.
An arrest can occur at any hour of the day or night, so Attorney Robin Fuson goes out of his way to ensure that he is always available to clients by phone. If you or a loved one have been arrested for boating under the influence, contact a top Tampa BUI lawyer to discuss the details of your case in a free, confidential case consultation. Call 813-933-6807.
Common Questions and Concerns if You’re Arrested for Boating Under the Influence in Florida
The Tampa Bay area is a prime location for boating enthusiasts – a fact which also means that the Tampa area is also the site of numerous BUI arrests. Boating under the influence can carry some very serious penalties and it’s natural to have many questions and concerns.
Robin Fuson, P.A., and his legal team have assembled an overview of the most common concerns surrounding a BUI arrest in Florida.
What’s the Legal Limit for Drinking and Boating in Florida?
Florida law allows for an arrest and ultimately a conviction of a boat operator who is found to be operating a watercraft while “affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired” by alcohol, prescription medications or illicit drugs or the individual is found to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.
If a non-alcoholic substance is suspected, authorities will administer a chemical test that will reveal the presence and concentration of illicit drugs and prescription medications. Notably, you can be arrested if you drive a boat (or vehicle) under the influence of a prescription medication that impairs your abilities.
Is BUI Considered a DUI?
It’s important to note that in Florida, boating under the influence is considered the same as a DUI when it comes to examining your criminal record for past offenses.
Therefore, if you have a prior BUI conviction and later get arrested for DUI while driving a car, the DUI will be treated as a second offense, resulting in far more serious penalties.
The opposite is also true. So if you have one prior DUI conviction and then get arrested for BUI, the BUI will be treated as a second offense.
Is a BUI a Misdemeanor or Felony in Florida? And What Are the BUI Penalties?
Florida has some very strict laws for boating under the influence. Penalties and the nature of the charge vary depending upon a number of factors, such as:
- A first offense BUI is typically charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, which may carry up to six months in jail and a fine of $500 to $1,000. The law requires the judge to, at minimum, impose a first-time offender to probation up to one year in length.
- A second offense BUI is typically charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and a maximum of nine months in jail (or more if there was a young passenger).
- A third offense within 10 years of the prior charges can be charged as a third-degree felony, carrying up to five years’ incarceration (with a minimum of 30 days in jail) and up to $5,000 in fines.
- BAC of .15% or higher -OR- a passenger under age 18 can result in a second-degree misdemeanor charge which carries a possible penalty of up to nine months of incarceration and $1,000 to $2,000 in fines.
- Accidents resulting in minor injuries or property damage can result in a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a possible penalty of up to one year in jail or up to $1,00 in fines.
- Boating accidents resulting in serious bodily injury to another person can be charged as a third-degree felony, carrying a possible sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine of $5,000.
- Boating accidents that result in a death can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony, which carries a potential penalty of up to 15 years’ imprisonment for a second-degree felony or up to 30 years in prison for a third-degree felony, or fines totaling up to $10,000.
It’s also possible for a boating under the influence case to lead to an administrative driver’s license suspension in Florida. Other penalties can include impoundment or “immobilization” of your watercraft, community service, and even court-ordered program enrollment.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Tampa BUI Lawyer?
The total sum of your legal fees will vary depending upon the nature, complexity and severity of the charges in your case. For a fairly simple, straightforward case, you may find a resolution in fairly short order, whereas a more serious case can take months to resolve, resulting in significantly higher legal fees.
To get an accurate idea of expense, it’s best to contact Attorney Fuson to discuss your case in a consultation session.
Hire a Top Tampa BUI Defense Attorney to Represent Your Case
A boating under the influence case can carry some harsh penalties, so it’s vital that you trust your case to the right defense lawyer. Attorney Robin Fuson is committed to providing an aggressive, highly strategic defense as he strives to achieve the best possible case outcome.
Additionally, if you are suffering from challenges related to substance abuse, Attorney Fuson can refer you to a treatment provider for help.
A former chief prosecutor for nearly a decade, Attorney Fuson has been in practice as a defense attorney for over 15 years. He even served as an instructor for law enforcement officers across Hillsborough County, Florida.
If you or a loved one were arrested for boating under the influence, Tampa BUI lawyer Robin Fuson, P.A. is here to help. Arrange a free, confidential case consultation by calling 813-933-6807.