Driving under the influence, or DUI – often referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) – is a serious crime. In Florida, boating under the influence (BUI) is an equally serious offense. A DUI, BUI, or related crime can include charges such as:
- DUI manslaughter, homicide, and hit-and-run
- Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- Reckless or careless driving
- Resisting arrest or attempting to elude a police officer
- Road rage
- Vehicular homicide
If you are charged with a DUI in Florida, you can face some of the most severe penalties in the United States, including having an immediate suspension placed on your license upon being arrested. A DUI conviction in Florida may result in a permanent criminal record, your license may be revoked, and you can be placed on probation. Substance abuse classes are mandatory, and even a first-time offense can result in jail time. A second DUI or related offense will most likely carry a prison sentence with it. A third DUI conviction is a felony and may result in up to five years in prison. For years following a DUI conviction, it is likely that your auto insurance premiums will be much higher. If you are not a U.S. citizen, driving under the influence may even result in being deported to your country of origin. If you refuse to submit to a breath test at the scene, you may even face up to one year in jail. Boating Under the Influence Although most people know that operating a road vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is crime, many of them don’t realize that operating a boating vessel is just as serious a crime. If suspected of BUI, vessel operators along Florida’s waterways are required to submit to sobriety tests, and physical and chemical tests to determine blood or breath alcohol content. A vessel operator is presumed to be “under the influence” if his or her blood or breath alcohol level is at or above .08, according to Florida’s BUI statute. Additionally, if a vessel operator who is under the age of 21 and whose blood or breath alcohol content is at or above .02, he or she is in violation of Florida law. BUI Penalties in Florida Boating drunk in Florida and refusing to comply with sobriety exam may result in a suspended boating license, or even loss of your boat.