Boating Under the Influence Attorney (BUI)

Arrest Off Beaches In Okaloosa County & Walton County

Arrested for BUI in Okaloosa County or Walton County? You are not alone. Each year, hundreds of people are targeted in and around the waters of Destin Harbor, Santa Rosa Sound, Choctawhatchee Bay, Crab Island, Destin East Pass, and other area intercoastal waterways along the Gulf Coast.

Many that are arrested are here on vacation or simply trying to enjoy a holiday or event. Unfortunately, during these times, law enforcement create an organized BUI task force to patrol and monitor these waterways and will stop just about anybody at any time to conduct sobriety checks on the boat operator.

Some of these targeted special holidays, festivals, and events include: Spring Break, Billy Bowlegs Festival, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Emerald Coast/Destin Poker Run.

These safety and sobriety checks function a lot like DUI checkpoints because the law enforcement officers, many of which are from Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), do not need to have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop your boat.

The law allows them to conduct random stops at any time and for no legal reason, objective basis or justification, unlike a traffic stop for suspicion of DUI.

However, BUIs are generally tougher to prosecute than DUI cases. This is because Florida State Attorney prosecutors have more obstacles to overcome, such as:

  1. Officers who stop boats are specifically targeting BUIs are not as objective.
  2. Field Sobriety on a boat is almost impossible.
  3. Detaining the subject before establishing probable cause is problematic.
  4. Many FWC Field Sobriety tasks are not standardized and approved.
  5. Officers conducting BUI investigation are not well trained.
  6. Officers can make mistakes during the breath testing process.

Special Notes:
Boating Under The Influence vs. Driving Under The Influence
BUI Breath Tests

If you use an experienced BUI defense attorney to represent you in your case, you are maximizing your chances of getting the best possible result.

While many of the best DUI attorneys also do BUI cases, the unique characteristics of a BUI are different enough to require a different approach that is more aggressive, more technical. Your attorney must be able to file the proper Legal Motions to create the most favorable evidentiary landscape for a trial situation. This will allow for the most negotiation leverage as well as the best preparation for a potential jury trial.

Criminal Defense Attorney Shawn Lupella knows how to defend both DUI cases as well as BUIs. I have represented local residents as well as those from out of state. No matter what your situation, I am able to help you fight for the best result. Call me today for a free consultation in Fort Walton Beach (850) 362-6655 or Destin (850) 424-5240.