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The Intracoastal Waterway stretches approximately 1,100 miles from Norfolk, Virginia to Miami. The state of Florida is responsible for almost 400 of those miles, about a third of the entire length. Given those numbers, it’s no wonder the state has devoted a portion of its legislative code to boating under the influence.

  • 327.35 of the Florida code makes it a criminal offense to pilot or operate a watercraft if you’ve been drinking or if you’re under the influence of drugs. The same standards apply as those pertaining to drinking and driving a motor vehicle. If your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or above, you’ve blown over. You’re impaired, and you could be charged with a BUI – boating under the influence. You can be fined up to $1,000 and can be sentenced to jail for up to six months. This is the light side of the offense. If this is your third BUI, the fine can potentially jump to $5,000 and you could spend as much as a year in prison. If you’re involved in a boating accident and someone loses his or her life, this is BUI manslaughter and the penalties get much worse. If your BAC is 0.15 or above, you’re also facing much stiffer penalties.

Repercussions like this can turn a pleasant weekend outing into a nightmare – unless you have an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney by your side. At Katz & Phillips, we understand that, unlike driving, boating is almost always a pleasurable pursuit. You might have been having a good time and might have been totally unaware of how much you drank. You might not even have known that boating under the influence is a criminal offense in Florida. We don’t judge; we know it could happen to anyone. We’re standing by to offer you our experienced, compassionate, dedicated help. Call us for a consultation so we can review the charges against you. We’ll let you know where you stand and how we can defend you against these charges so that one mistake does not have to ruin years of your life.

Understanding the Role of an Orlando BUI Attorney

Facing charges of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) in Orlando can be a daunting experience. An Orlando BUI attorney serves as your advocate and guide through this legal maze. Here’s what they can do for you:

  • Legal Expertise: An experienced BUI attorney comprehends the nuances of Florida’s laws concerning boating under the influence. They leverage this knowledge to build a strong defense tailored to your case.
  • Case Analysis: Your attorney will meticulously examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest. They’ll assess the evidence, scrutinize police procedures, and identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Strategic Defense: Crafting a strategic defense is crucial. Your attorney will strategize based on the specifics of your situation. This might involve challenging the accuracy of tests, questioning probable cause, or presenting mitigating factors.
  • Representation: Your attorney represents you in all legal proceedings, including court appearances, negotiations, and discussions with prosecutors. Their goal is to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Advocacy and Support: Beyond legal expertise, an Orlando BUI attorney provides much-needed support during a stressful time. They offer guidance, answer your questions, and provide reassurance throughout the legal process.

Remember, being charged with BUI doesn’t mean automatic guilt. With a dedicated and knowledgeable Orlando BUI attorney, you can navigate these challenging waters with confidence and strive for a favorable resolution.

How Does Florida Define a BUI?

BUI stands for Boating Under the Influence. In Florida, BUI is a serious offense that is treated similarly to DUI (Driving Under the Influence).


BUI is operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired. This includes boats, jet skis, and any other type of watercraft.

The legal BAC limit for operating a vessel in Florida is 0.08%. If you are caught operating a vessel with a BAC above this limit, you can be arrested for BUI.


The penalties for BUI are similar to those for DUI. They can include:

  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • Jail time: Up to six months for a first offense and up to one year for a subsequent offense
  • Probation: Up to one year
  • Loss of boating privileges: Up to one year

Additional Consequences

In addition to the legal penalties, a BUI conviction can also have other negative consequences, such as:

  • Increased insurance rates: Your boat insurance rates may go up significantly after a BUI conviction.
  • Difficulty finding a job: Some employers may not hire people with a BUI conviction.
  • Damage to your reputation: A BUI conviction can damage your reputation and make it difficult to get a loan or rent an apartment.

How to avoid a BUI

The best way to avoid a BUI is to avoid drinking or using drugs before you go boating. If you are planning on drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver who will not drink and will be responsible for driving the boat home.

Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

Remember, BUI is a serious offense that can have significant consequences. Always boat responsibly and avoid drinking or using drugs before operating a vessel.

Defend Your Rights With an Orlando BUI Law Firm

Don’t navigate the legal complexities of a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charge alone. Whether you need a dedicated attorney or a specialized law firm in Orlando, take the first step toward safeguarding your future.

Contact Katz & Phillips today for a confidential consultation. Let our experienced legal team assess your case, explain your options, and craft a personalized defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. Protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome.

Don’t let a BUI charge dictate your future. Reach out now and empower yourself with the guidance and expertise needed to overcome this legal challenge. Contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. today.