Operating a vehicle while intoxicated is a crime in Florida, whether that vehicle operates on land or upon the waves. Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be on the lookout for boating under the influence on state waters this weekend too, according to a press release issued by the agency.
FWC will be participating in Operation Dry Water through Sunday, which is an annual nationwide focus by maritime agencies across the country on identifying and penalizing individuals they identify as being under the influence of alcohol and/or other controlled substances.
The agency says that it will also be attempting to educate the public on the dangers of inebriated boating as well. They’ll be spreading the word about the over four hundred Floridians injured and the fifty-five Floridians killed last year on state waters, and that alcohol and/or drugs played a part in nearly one-fifth of those who perished last year.
A vessel operator is intoxicated for purposes of Florida state law if s/he has a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. A first conviction of boating under the influence carries a penalty of a fine of up to $1,000 and incarceration for up to six months. Second convictions can cost up to $2,000 and could lead to imprisonment for up to nine months. Any subsequent convictions within ten years are classified as a felony and can lead to fines of up to $5,000 and a stint behind bars of up to a year. Individuals convicted of BUI are also subject to probation, impounding of their watercraft, and liable for charges incurred in storing it as well.
If you are facing charges of BUI from activities in or around Tampa Bay this or any other weekend, contact the Law Offices of Bjorn E. Brunvand. They’d be happy to discuss your case.