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Can I be charged with a DUI on the water?

| Jan 12, 2018 | Blog |

Florida is the Number One boating state in the country, so to many Floridians getting on the water is no different than jumping in the car.

Most people are aware that if you are found to be intoxicated behind the wheel of a car, you will get charged with a DUI. But what happens if you are steering a boat on the water?

DUIs for drunk boating

In Florida, these incidents are treated the same – if you are intoxicated at the helm, you are subject to a DUI.

The blood alcohol content (BAC) level in Florida is the same for boaters as it is for drivers – 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. The criminal fines for a boating DUI are similar to that of a DUI on the road:

  • A fine between $500 and $1,000 and imprisonment not more than six months for a first-time offense
  • A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and imprisonment not more than nine months for a second offense
  • A third offense within 10 years is a felony with a fine between $2,000 and $5,000 and imprisonment not more than 12 months.

Penalties are more severe if your BAC level is 0.15 or higher, just as it is behind the wheel of a car.

Just like any other DUI, your options are not limited if you are stopped by police. You can refuse a field sobriety test – or in this case, an oceanic sobriety test. The officer may still arrest you, but you will not have given them evidence to use against you.

If you are arrested, calling a criminal defense attorney right away can help you investigate the details of your arrest and find a path forward to protect your rights and freedoms.