Fort Lauderdale Boating Under the Influence Arrest

With miles of beautiful waves off the shores of Florida, tourists and locals alike sometimes find themselves charged with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you face this stressful situation, the attorneys of Meltzer & Bell know how to effectively formulate on your defense. Although a driver's license suspension does not occur after a BUI conviction, the consequences of this criminal offense are still very serious in Broward County.

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, represent clients charged with BUI in Broward County including Miramar, Davie, Tamarac, Lauderhill, and surrounding coastal areas. Call (954) 228-2789 today to discuss the case during a FREE consultation.


Challenging the Civil Penalty in a BUI Refusal Case

The defendant may challenge the $500 civil penalty imposed in a Florida BUI refusal case within 30 days of the arrest by requesting a hearing. The request for a hearing tolls the time for payment. Operating a vessel without paying the civil penalty imposed is a first-degree misdemeanor.

The issues in the civil penalty hearings are similar to the issues in an administrative hearing in a DUI case. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell aggressively fight BUI charges at every stage of the case including contesting the civil penalty within the first 30 days after the arrest.


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BUI Under Florida Statute Section 327.35

Florida has adopted an escalating schedule of mandatory fine and a maximum jail sentence which is identical to Florida’s law for a first, second or third conviction. For purposes of determining the prior number of convictions a DUI or BUI conviction counts as a conviction for the other offense.

Under s. 327.36, the Court is required to adjudicate the person to be guilty. The court is not allowed to withhold adjudication for any BUI offense. Unlike a DUI conviction, there is no license suspension for a BUI conviction. Also, the court is not permitted to impose a condition that the person convicted of BUI must install the ignition interlock device.

If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest, the court must sentence the person to the following minimum mandatory penalties:

  • a term of probation;
  • the successful completion of a DUI program sponsored substance abuse course and psychosocial evaluation as a condition of probation;
  • community service for a minimum of 50 hours (unlike the DUI statute, there is no buy out option in a BUI case); and
  • the court must order the impoundment of the vessel used in the incident or any one vessel or vehicle registered in the defendant’s name.

The court will also impose a fine and court costs.

This makes it essential to work with a highly knowledgeable boating under the influence attorney who has proven experience in these cases. At Meltzer & Bell, you can rest assured that your case is being handled by a Ft. Lauderdale attorney who has successfully defended many of these cases in Florida, both for residents and visitors.


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Vessel Impoundment in BUI Cases

The impoundment must be a condition of probation. The impoundment cannot occur at the same time that the person served any jail time.

The impoundment is required for any vehicle or vessel operated by the defendant at the time of arrest or any vehicle registered to the defendant at the time of impoundment or immobilization. Unlike in DUI cases, the impoundment cannot be waived for a family hardship.


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BUI Impoundment or Immobilization Requirement

Under F.S. s. 327.35(6) the court must impose the following period of impoundment or immobilization:

  • First conviction is 10 days;
  • Second conviction (within five years of prior) requires 30 days; and
  • Third Conviction (within 10 years of a prior) is 90 days.

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Implied Consent in BUI Cases

Florida’s implied consent provisions applies to breath, urine and blood tests in BUI cases just as it does in DUI cases. The defendant must be told that the failure to submit to a lawful test will result in a $500 civil penalty instead of an administrative suspension of the driver's license.

If you were arrested for refusing a BAC test in Fort Lauderdale or other Florida cities without being informed of the consequences, an attorney could fight against your arrest.


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Finding an Experienced BUI Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you are charged with boating under the influence in Broward County, turn to the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell. We represent clients throughout Florida, including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hallandale Beach and nearby areas.