Boating BUI Defense
What You Need to Know About Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Narcotics
BUIs come in all shapes and sizes.
It goes without saying that a lot of Florida residents and visitors to the State of Florida operate boats because of the ideal weather and the availability of lakes, rivers, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. These boats can be anything from small recreational boats to commercial tankers or barges. However, sometimes boat operators get charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI), and the State of Florida takes this charge very seriously.
If you have been charged with this crime, what can you expect?
The Breath Test
Breath testing equipment is used to assess how much alcohol a person has in his or her blood stream and is the same equipment the police use for DUI charges. The equipment is based on the premise that blood mixes with air in the lungs and that the “deep lung air,”—the air exhaled in the latter portion of an exhaled breath—will have a measurable amount of alcohol that predictably indicates the ratio of alcohol in the blood.
Typically, several samples of breath are tested, along with a control sample. Each sample is expelled from the machine immediately, so samples may never be retested for accuracy. Alcohol may also be measured from a blood draw, and the sample may be retested later. An attorney may request records regarding when the machines were calibrated and tested.
Field Sobriety Tests
There is much more to field sobriety tests than meets the eye. Most people think that the tests are about being able to balance, walk along a straight line, or touch one’s nose.
However, the police also take notes on how well people follow directions. They always make sure to ask you if you understood the directions prior to the start of the tests. The fact that a person agreed that they understood the directions can be used against them in court. Police also ask if people are healthy or have health problems prior to giving the exam.
Typically, it is more difficult to prove BUI than it is to prove BUI because marine police officers do not carry breath testing equipment with them and field sobriety tests are not as reliable when performed on a rocking boat.
BUI penalties are similar to DUI penalties, including possible jail time, probation, community service and fines, but unlike DUI, you will not lose your driver’s license.
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