Boating Under The Influence Diversion in Miami
Boating Under The Influence cases for first -time offenders may be eligible for a newly-created diversion program.
What is the BUI Diversion Program in MIami?Under Florida law, there are some differences between driving under the influence (DUI) and boating under the influence (BUI). On the road, an officer needs probable cause to stop you for a suspected DUI, but on the water, law enforcement does NOT need a reason to stop your boat to ensure it complies with the laws and restrictions for operating a watercraft.
BUI officers can order you to stop your boat if they believe you are violating a regulation or are speeding, but they can also randomly stop you to inspect your equipment, check for a fishing compliance, or ensure you have your safety registration on board. Once aboard your boat, the officers can ask you to submit to a hand-held breath test, complete sobriety exercises, or take a chemical test once on shore.
While you should always first look to defending the case in court, you do have another option. Recently, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has rolled-out a BUI Diversion Program for first offenders.
Upon completion of the program, the State agrees to reduce the BUI charge to Reckless Boating, a lower level offense and offer the Defendant a withhold of adjudication, meaning no criminal conviction.
What Are The Penalties for BUI in Miami?If convicted, a person can face a variety of BUI penalties depending on the severity of their case and if they have prior BUI offenses..
Potential BUI penalties are as follows:
First conviction—Fines of up to $500 and jail time of no more than 6 months
Second conviction—Fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of no more than 9 months
Third violation outside of 10 years of a prior—Fines up to $2,500 and up to 12 months of jail
Third violation within a 10 year of a prior felony—Jail time of no more than 5 years
Fourth or subsequent conviction—Fine of no less than $1,000
BUI causing or contributing to property damage—Jail time of up to 12 months
If you are facing second degree charges for BUI manslaughter, you may receive a sentence of up to 15 years in a state prison.