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What are the Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in FL?

A Closer Look at Florida’s BUI Laws

Also referred to as “BUI,” boating under the influence is a common offense in Florida. A primary reason for this is that residents and tourists alike visit Florida’s beautiful bodies of water throughout the year, and typically bring booze to sip while cruising. Although it may seem harmless to crack open a beer and enjoy the waters, it is important to know the penalties if you arrested and charged with a BUI.

Under Florida Statutes Section 327.35, you may be found guilty of boating under the influence if you operate a vessel and:

  • Are under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance outlined in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired
  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • Your breath-alcohol level is .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath

For clarification, the term “vessel” encompasses boats, watercrafts, barges, and airboats, other than a seaplane on the water, used as a means of transportation on water.

What Are Penalties for BUI under Florida Law?

If you are captain of the boat, the safest choice is to avoid alcohol consumption. Don’t be fooled, you can get arrested and charged for BUI on the water just as fast as you can on land. If you get convicted of this crime, you will suffer the same penalties as those who are found guilty of DUI. Convictions involving a BAC of .08 or higher are subject to the following punishments:

  • First conviction: $500 to $1,000 fines and up to 6 months in jail
  • Second conviction: $1,000 to $2,000 fines and up to 9 months in jail
  • Third conviction (committed within 10 years of prior BUI conviction): Third-degree felony charge punishable by up to $5,000 fines and 5 to 10 years in prison
  • Third conviction (committed more than 10 years of prior BUI conviction): $2,000 to $5,000 fines and up to 12 months in jail
  • Fourth or subsequent conviction: Third-degree felony charge punishable by $2,000 to $5,000 fines and5 to 10 years in prison

If your BAC was .15 or higher, or a person under 18 years old was in the vessel at the time of your alleged BUI, your penalties may be the following:

  • First conviction: $1,000 to $2,000 fines and up to 9 months in jail
  • Second conviction: $2,000 to $4,000 fines and up to 12 months in jail

Arrested for BUI? You Deserve Powerhouse Advocacy.

It is easier than you may think to get a BUI in Florida, as law enforcement is equally vigilant on the water as on land. Similar to DUI stops, you may be asked to perform field sobriety exercises, which may include the following FSE’s:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
  • Finger to Nose

Due to the constraints of doing FSE’s on a boat, not all the FSE’s you may be asked to perform are the same as those during a DUI investigation. In addition, an officer may ask you to perform non-standardized field sobriety tests, such as hand coordination and hand pat tests. These tests are difficult for even a sober person to perform. Thus, if you were accused of boating under the influence in St. Petersburg, Anita can provide the aggressive advocacy your case relies on. The earlier you begin your defense, the better.

Schedule a free consultation online or by calling (727) 826-7135 to discuss your case!

The content in this blog is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This blog content is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Anita McNulty Parker Is Ready to Fight for You

Call (727) 826-7135 or Fill Out This Form for a Free Consultation

8200 113th Street

#104

Seminole, FL 33772

Map & Directions [+]

By Appointment Only

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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What Happens to Your Driver’s License After a Florida DUI Arrest?

After a DUI arrest, your license will automatically be suspended if you blew above the legal limit of .08 or refused to submit to a breathalyzer. One of the most pressing concerns immediately after a DUI arrest is whether you are eligible for a hardship license and how to obtain one.

Bureau of Administrative Review Hearing

After a DUI arrest, you have 10 days from the date of arrest to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. To accomplish this, you must submit the appropriate documentation to request a formal hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Review. If you are successful and win your hearing, your administrative dl suspension will be lifted.

During this formal hearing, your attorney may challenge whether:

  • the officer had probable cause to stop you
  • the officer had probable cause to arrest you for DUI
  • specific procedures were followed when the officer requested a breath sample
  • there were any issues with the intoxilyzer machine used to obtain your sample

If the hearing officer does not rule in your favor, you will have what is known as a “hard” driver’s license suspension. If this is your first DUI and you blew over the legal limit of .08, the “hard suspension” will be for a period of 30 days. If this is your first DUI and you refused a breathalyzer, the hard suspension is for a period of 90 days. If this is your second DUI and you blew over the legal limit of .08, your hard suspension will be for a period of 30 days. If this is your second DUI and you refused a breath sample, the length of the hard suspension depends on whether your first DUI involved a breath sample or a refusal.

When considering whether to request a formal review hearing, it is important to speak with a qualified and knowledgeable DUI attorney to determine what option is right for you.

Waive Your Right to a Bureau of Administrative Review Hearing

If this is your first DUI, you also have the option to waive your right to a hearing. You are required to fill out specific paperwork, enroll in DUI school, and attend a hardship hearing to determine your eligibility to obtain a hardship license. If granted, you will automatically obtain a hardship license and do not run the risk of a hard suspension as you would if you lost a formal hearing. However, it is important to understand that if you waive your right to a formal hearing, you will still have a driver’s license suspension with the ability to drive for purposes set forth under your hardship ability requirements.

Contact McNulty Parker Law Today

If you have been arrested for DUI, you probably have many questions about your driver’s license and what your options are going forward. Call Anita at (727) 826-7135 today and set up a free consultation to discuss your case. It is important to call immediately, as you only have ten days to file the appropriate paperwork regarding your driver’s license suspension.

To get started, contact a St. Petersburg DUI attorney at McNulty Parker Law, PLLC by completing the online form.

The content in this blog is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This blog content is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Anita McNulty Parker Is Ready to Fight for You

Call (727) 826-7135 or Fill Out This Form for a Free Consultation

8200 113th Street

#104

Seminole, FL 33772

Map & Directions [+]

By Appointment Only

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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Florida DUI Defense for .08 BAC or Higher

Is There a Defense to My Florida DUI if I Blew Over the Legal Limit of .08 BAC?

When a person blows over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08, a common question they ask following a DUI stop is if their case is defensible. It is important to know that the breath or blood alcohol test is administered after the driving occurs, perhaps more than an hour later. But the State must prove your breath or blood alcohol limit at the time you were driving. To understand what defenses may be applicable in your case, it is important to understand there are two ways in which the State of Florida can attempt to prove you are guilty of DUI.

Elements Required to Prove a DUI Crime

Pursuant to Florida Statute § 316.193(1), to prove the crime of DUI, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The Defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  2. While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, the Defendant:
    • was under the influence of [alcoholic beverages] [a chemical substance] [a controlled substance] to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired; or
    • had a [blood] [breath]-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per [100 milliliters of blood] [210 liters of breath].

What Is Retrograde Extrapolation?

In certain cases, a scientific process known as “retrograde extrapolation” may be beneficial to your DUI defense. Retrograde extrapolation is used to estimate what a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was at a specific time based on test results taken at a later point in time.

Retrograde extrapolation considers several factors that affect how a person’s body absorbs alcohol. This allows a toxicologist to estimate a person’s BAC at the time of driving, rather than the BAC reading that may have been taken over an hour after driving. Each of the factors below affects the time it takes for a person’s body to absorb and eliminate alcohol, impacting their BAC at the time they were driving.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • gender
  • weight
  • body mass index
  • age
  • food and alcohol consumption (when, what type, and how much)
  • alcohol tolerance

To understand the concept of retrograde extrapolation, it is important to consider how experts analyze the way alcohol metabolizes in our bodies. Experts use what is known today as the blood alcohol curve, which represents the rise and fall of a person’s BAC as their body absorbs and eliminates alcohol. After they drink alcohol, it is absorbed into a person’s body and bloodstream. The concentration of alcohol in their blood gradually rises until they reach a peak. This is commonly referred to as the absorption or rising phase of the metabolizing process. After they reach the peak, the concentration of alcohol begins to decline as the liver removes the alcohol from a person’s blood. This is known as the elimination or falling phase.

In your Florida DUI case, both the State and your defense attorney may attempt to introduce expert testimony regarding retrograde extrapolation that estimates your BAC at the time of driving.

How Retrograde Extrapolation Can Help Your DUI Defense

In certain cases, expert testimony on retrograde extrapolation can help argue that your BAC was below the legal limit at the time of driving. Through analyzing data and facts specific to your case, an expert may determine that your BAC was below the legal limit while you were driving, despite getting a reading above the legal limit of .08 BAC sometime after you were driving.

In other words, the scientific data may support an argument that your body was in the absorption phase during the time between driving and submitting a breath sample. Thus, this can help show that your BAC level was higher when the sample was taken rather than when you were driving.

To evaluate the strength of your DUI case, you should consider that the State can also use the principle of retrograde extrapolation when arguing that your BAC was above a .08 at the time of driving. To do so, the state often argues that a BAC slightly below the legal limit does not reflect the BAC at the time of driving. In that case, the State may present expert testimony that your body was in the elimination phase of alcohol metabolism when the sample was given, meaning your BAC was actually above the legal limit of .08 at the time of driving.

McNulty Parker Law, PLLC Can Defend Your DUI Charges

The science of retrograde extrapolation can be used by either the State or defense, therefore a detailed and thorough analysis of your case and its variables can help determine whether this principle is beneficial to your DUI defense. While retrograde extrapolation can be a valuable tool in combating a DUI charge involving a BAC above .08, retrograde extrapolation is not applicable in every DUI case.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you need an experienced attorney who is willing to put their knowledge to work for you. As such, contact McNulty Parker Law, PLLC online or by calling (727) 826-7135 today!

The content in this blog is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This blog content is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Anita McNulty Parker Is Ready to Fight for You

Call (727) 826-7135 or Fill Out This Form for a Free Consultation

8200 113th Street

#104

Seminole, FL 33772

Map & Directions [+]

By Appointment Only

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.