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In all of Florida, there are 4,308 square miles of water and 2,276 statute miles of tidal shoreline. That’s a lot of water. This means a lot of boats – and, unfortunately, a lot of BUI arrests.

Laws regarding boating under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol follow many of the same guidelines as do drunk driving laws. For example, the legal limit is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. However, some aspects of a BUI arrest are decidedly different.

If you are one of the thousands of people arrested each year and charged with BUI, you would be well-advised to obtain a BUI attorney in Florida who has experience with the criminal defense of drunk boating charges. At Katz & Phillips, P.A., our criminal defense attorneys represent those who have been arrested and/or charged with a BUI in Florida.

A Florida BUI Attorney With Prosecutorial Experience

Not every attorney has the experience necessary to mount a proper criminal defense of a BUI charge. At our law firm, lead criminal defense attorney for DUI and BUI charges is a former prosecutor. Attorney David Katz was a prosecutor for the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office and was its DUI and Intoxilyzer Specialist. An Intoxilyzer 8000 is the brand name of the chemical breath tester used in Florida. Attorney Katz is a regular speaker, locally and nationally, on the topic of DUI prosecution and defense.

This means that our clients have someone on their defense team who is not only experienced but highly regarded on a professional level. In many cases this translates directly to effectiveness. While past performance is never an indication of future success, we can say with confidence that we are very good at what we do and will work diligently toward obtaining a favorable result in each and every case.

Drunk Boating Laws

According to the American Boating Association, Florida law states that it is a “criminal offense punishable by fines up to $2,500, imprisonment of up to one year, non-paid public service, and mandatory substance abuse counseling.” In addition:

  • BUI laws dictate mandatory sentences in Florida.
  • Killing another person while driving a boat drunk can result in a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
  • Refusal to take a breath test can be used against you in court.

In many ways, a BUI in Florida is similar to a DUI charge. The consequences are certainly similar in terms of potential jail time, fines and penalties and impact on one’s personal relationships or employment. It makes sense to obtain a BUI attorney in Florida who has the necessary experience to potentially obtain an acquittal, dismissal or satisfactory plea deal. At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we have that experience.

Defense Strategies for BUI Charges

In BUI (Boating Under the Influence) cases, effective defense strategies are pivotal for a favorable outcome. Our law firm specializes in crafting unique defenses tailored to each BUI case. One common strategy involves challenging the validity of the sobriety tests conducted on water. Factors such as the natural instability of a boat and environmental conditions can significantly affect the results of these tests. We scrutinize these tests for any procedural errors or external influences that might have skewed the results.

Another key approach is contesting the legality of the initial stop. Just like in DUI cases, law enforcement must have a legitimate reason for stopping a boater. We meticulously review the circumstances leading to the stop to ensure that your rights were not violated. 

In cases where chemical tests are administered, we examine the accuracy and calibration of the testing equipment, such as the Intoxilyzer. Inaccuracies in these devices can lead to false positives, and our team is adept at uncovering such flaws.

We also focus on witness testimonies. In the dynamic environment of waterways, witness observations can be unreliable. Our legal team critically assesses these testimonies, highlighting inconsistencies and inaccuracies.

At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we understand the complexities of BUI cases. Our unique approach involves a thorough examination of all aspects of the charge, utilizing our extensive knowledge and experience to build a robust defense strategy for our clients.

The Role of Evidence in BUI Cases

In BUI (Boating Under the Influence) cases, the types of evidence presented are crucial in determining the outcome. Breathalyzer results are often central, but they can be contested based on the specific circumstances under which they were administered and the calibration of the device. Our firm specializes in questioning the accuracy of these tests, considering factors like environmental conditions at sea that could impact the results.

Witness testimonies are another common form of evidence in BUI cases. However, the reliability of these accounts can vary, especially given the challenging conditions on water, such as distance, lighting, and movement. Our legal team rigorously evaluates these testimonies for inconsistencies or potential biases, providing a thorough cross-examination to ensure a fair assessment.

Video footage, whether from law enforcement or surrounding boats, can play a significant role. We scrutinize such footage to assess its clarity, angle, and context, ensuring that it accurately represents the incident. Sometimes, videos can misrepresent situations due to poor quality or limited perspectives.

At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we understand that evidence in BUI cases can often be subjective or flawed. Our approach involves a meticulous analysis of all evidence, leveraging our expertise to challenge any aspect that may be unjust or inaccurate, ensuring the best possible defense for our clients.

Florida BUI Law Firm Offering a Free Initial Consultation

We know that BUI arrests don’t necessarily occur during business hours. Our phone line will be answered anytime, 24/7, so give us a call at (321) 332-6864 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Our BUI attorneys in Florida are eager to help.