Destin Boating Under the Influence Lawyer
Thousands of people come from all over the country every summer to vacation in Destin. One of the most popular things to do is rent a ski boat, pontoon boat, or a jet ski and take it out to Crab Island or Norriego Point to have a great time along with the hundreds of other boaters, yolo boarders, and swimmers. Unfortunately, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers and the Coast Guard station themselves right in the midst of all the fun. They are looking for anyone who shows any signs of having had too much to drink.
Once they have zeroed in on a suspect, they will approach the boat, tie it off to their boat, and board. They will do this under the guise of a “vessel safety check.” They will make sure the boat has a sufficient number of flotation devices and other required safety equipment. But before they leave your boat, they will ask if anyone has been drinking. They will search the boat for empty containers or open containers of alcohol.
If your good time on the water was ruined and you were charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI) in Destin, you have already been through a miserable experience being boarded, investigated, and arrested. In order to keep this ordeal from having life-long consequences, it is important that you contact a Destin BUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Here at Flaherty Defense Firm, we have been defending clients accused of BUI in Destin for over 13 years. We are also avid boaters ourselves, so we know how the Fish and Wildlife Officers treat people. We also know what mistakes they make. Mistakes that we can exploit to try and get your BUI case either dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
Penalties for BUI in Destin
The penalties for a BUI charge are very similar to the ones for a DUI. If this is your first or second offense, BUI is a first degree misdemeanor offense. The potential punishment ranges from 6 to 9 months in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. If convicted, you will also be required to serve probation, complete community service hours, attend alcohol awareness classes, and have your boat impounded.
If you are accused of Boating Under the Influence that resulted in an accident that caused serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a felony BUI offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Breath Testing in Destin BUI Cases
At Crab Island and other popular boating spots in and around Destin, Fish and Wildlife Officers and the Coast Guard set up mobile stations for breath testing. From there, suspects will be transported to the county jail.
Because we also have a lot of experience defending DUI cases, we know how to analyze and attack the results of breath tests. If the breath machine wasn’t inspected, calibrated, or maintained properly, we will file a motion to suppress, seeking to have the breath test result in your case thrown out. We’ve done it before and we are ready to do it for you.
Similar to a DUI, Florida law requires any boater to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing of their blood alcohol content if they have been lawfully arrested for BUI. One key difference between BUI and DUI however is that a refusal in a BUI will NOT result in a suspension of your driver’s license. The penalty for a refusal to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing in a BUI case is a civil penalty of $500.00. This penalty is in addition to any other fines or court costs imposed by the court.
Defending a Destin BUI case
At Flaherty Defense Firm, we have a good track record of securing dismissals and reduced charges for clients in DUI cases. However, the results are even better in BUI cases. Why is this? For one, the Fish and Wildlife Officers are nowhere near as well-trained in conducting BUI investigations or administering field sobriety tests as their counterparts in DUI cases are. Quite frankly, in BUI cases, the officers almost always give us something to work with.
The key is having the right Destin BUI lawyer who knows what to look for and how to leverage any mistakes made by the officers to your benefit.
Call a Destin Boating Under the Influence Lawyer
With extensive experience in defending BUI cases, Flaherty Defense Firm can give you the help you need when you need it most. Call us 24/7 at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.