BUI | Ferraro Law Group, PL


Three Factors That Could Influence A Boating And Drinking Case

Drinking and driving is not reserved only for driving a car. There can be cases where a defendant is arrested and charged with boating and driving. This is a common type of case in Florida, where there are plenty of spots to hit the water, so it is important to understand the charges. There are some similarities between a DUI and a BWI, but there are also some factors that are unique only to BWI that might help with your defense.

Some of the typical defense that are raised in DUI cases have to do with the breath test results, such as challenging the way the test was administered or showing that there was another substance in the driver’s system that gave off a false positive. A BWI has unique factors that might lead an officer to believe you have been boating and drinking, such as:

  • Having spent too much time in the sun, which can affect your body’s physical properties.
  • Not drinking enough water while out in the sun, which can lead to dehydration.
  • Being a novice boater, which might mean you are driving erratically.
  • Choppy waters, which can lead to becoming sea sick.

If you are facing a drinking while boating charge, let us help. The type of defense you use could be similar to a DUI case, but with additional evidence needed. Our team of experienced DUI and BWI defense attorneys knows how to develop a defense for this special type of case that will fit the facts of your case. The possible punishments for BWI are not as harsh as those that accompany a DUI, but can still be disruptive to your life. You can also take steps before going out on a boat, like designating a driver. The risks of danger are high when water is involved without involving alcohol, but if drinking is part of your boating experience it may just pay off to have someone else take the wheel. Even so, we understand not all plans go as predicted, and are here to help you if you have been charged with drinking while boating.

If you have questions about BUI and DUI defense, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.


Three Differences Between DUI And BUI

Florida is full of opportunities to take to the beaches, and spend time on the water. Many times this includes driving a boat or other watercraft, and often times alcohol is involved when people gather to participate in these types of recreational activities. So it is only natural to wonder if you can get “pulled over” for boating under the influence and if so, if this type of case is similar to a DUI case. While some of the elements of a DUI are also present in a BUI (boating under the influence), there are some differences that you need to know if your plans involve water related activities.

The BUI statute defines a BUI as an incident where a boat or watercraft is being operated by a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more. This is the same legal limit that we see in DUI cases, but here are three things that have to be examined in a BUI case are not also present with DUI’s:

  • With a DUI it is usually pretty clear who is driving, but with boats it can be a little bit more difficult to determine. This is because most groups that go out boating take turns behind the wheel, and if there is an accident or a question as to whether the driver is under the influence, it is possible that the authorities are not able to tell who was actually operating the boat.
  • With a DUI there are consequences to not taking the breath test, but this is not the same with a BUI. If you refuse the breath test with a DUI, you can lose your driver’s license. But, with a BUI the consequence is a monetary fine, without possible loss of your license. This is a huge difference between the two cases and might make the decision on whether to take a breath test easier.
  • With a DUI the officer that makes the stop must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence in order to make the stop, but that is not true with BUI cases. The authorities are permitted to board a vessel for most any reason, because water safety is at issue and it may be necessary to check that certain safety precautions are being taken.

There are other differences that may arise in your case, and the best way to handle a BUI is by having a qualified defense attorney take on your case. If you have been charged with BUI, call us for help. We have experience with DUI cases as well as BUI’s and will aggressively pursue remedies that work for you.


For more information about BUI’s and DUI’s, call an experienced defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to working with you.


Three Ways Boating While Intoxicated Is Different From A DUI

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.

Boating And Drinking Don’t Mix

calm water06The summer brings out tourists and boaters to the state’s waterways. What some people don’t know is that they can be charged with driving while intoxicated even if what they are driving is a boat. The offense is serious and the fines are high. If you are charged with boating while under the influence call an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

The laws that make boating while under the influence are harsh, and the penalties can be severe. The law makes operating a boat while drinking a crime under the following circumstances:

● A boat is being operated in the state while the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

● The legal limit (BAC) is 0.08%.


A first time conviction carries a fine of between $500.00 and $1,000.00. and double that range for second timers. A BUI bears some resemblance to a DUI, but there are also significant differences. For instance, when you are boating you can be pulled over by the coast guard for a routine safety check. With a DUI, the police are unable to stop you for this reason, and must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over when driving a car. If you have been charged with a BUI, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you face these charges head on and reach a satisfactory result.

If you have been arrested for boating while under the influence, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We represent people charged with crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.