DUI versus BUI


The ability for the police to do a “field safety check” is just one of the many differences between BUIs and DUIs. For the experienced BUI or DUI defense attorney, knowing these differences is very important to getting the best result. I have spent years litigating BUI and DUI cases and found that the case issues and facts for one do not necessarily line up for the other. Here are some examples:

DUI Field Sobriety Testing (FSTs):

  1. Conducted by full-time patrol officers that are usually better trained.
  2. Tests (or “tasks”) are usually done in accordance with a set of standardized criteria or requirements.
  3. All tests must be done on dry, level ground.
  4. Subject must be physically or medically capable to perform tests.

BUI Field Sobriety Testing:

  1. Conducted by Fish and Wildlife officers with far less experience and almost no DUI/BUI investigation training.
  2. Some tests on done on the boat or vessel on open water, regardless of boat movement or wave action.
  3. Some tests are done onboard, some are done on shore.
  4. Officers generally ignore boating conditions that may affect balance and equilibrium.

Some FST Examples include:

Onboard Tasks
Palm Pat
Counting Numbers or Letters
Reciting ABCs or Letters (Rhomberg Alphabet)
Finger to Nose
Misc. Hand/Eye Exercises

Dry Land Tasks
Walk and Turn
One Leg Stand
Reciting ABCs or Letters
Finger to Nose

Please Note: Many Onboard FSTs are not approved and therefore may not admissible in court! And since the onboard tasks occur before the dry land tasks, there is an argument to be made that it is difficult for an officer to objectively find enough probable cause to detain the individual and transport them to land in order to conduct more tests. This can be filed as a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss, depending on the facts of your case.

If you’ve been arrested for BUI (Boating Under The Influence) or DUI (Driving Under The Influence), give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation and let’s find out what we can do.