In Florida it is just as likely to be charged with an alcohol related offense while on the water, as it is while driving. The difference is that when a person is pulled over and charged with driving while under the influence, the charge is a DUI. But if you are caught operating a boat while intoxicated, the charge is a BUI. Aside from this difference, there are other key distinctions between the two types of cases that are good to know.

A BUI is different from a DUI in the following three important ways:

  • The Coast Guard may stop a boat, and may even board the vessel, for virtually any safety related reason. This could be for the stated purpose of making sure there are enough life vests on board for every passenger, or for any other reason that relates to water safety. With a DUI though, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence in order to initiate a stop.
  • Many groups, when boating, take turns driving the boat and this can make it hard for the authorities to pinpoint who was driving at what time. This is a fact that most boaters find in their favor, because in order to establish a case for BUI, it has to be shown that the person being charged was actually operating the boat at the time of the incident.
  • A BUI case does not involve an automatic suspension of your driving privileges, but the same is not true of a DUI where your driver’s license is automatically revoked upon arrest. This difference is perhaps the most significant, because it requires a person charged with DUI to take fast action. The license revocation can be challenged in a DUI, but the request for challenge has to be made within ten days of arrest. If the challenge does not come timely, the driver will temporarily lose their right to drive.

The BAC level for BUI and DUI remains the same; at 0.08%, but the above differences are where the meat of the case can be found. Defending a BUI charge is similar to defending a DUI, and our team of experienced DUI defense attorneys can help you. Call us today to find out what to do if you have been charged with BUI, and let us take the steps needed that fit the facts of your case.

If you have questions about DUI or BUI defense, and how it relates to your driver’s license or state ID, call our office. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.