Boating under the Influence (BUI) in Pinellas County

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent individuals arrested for BUI throughout Pinellas County, FL. We pay attention to law enforcement efforts related to these types of cases.

According to press release number 22-058, the deputies with the marine unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will partner with officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to participate in Operation Dry Water over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The operation for heightened BUI enforcement is scheduled to begin on Saturday, July 2, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. until midnight.

The idea for “Operation Dry Water” was created in 2009 by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the United States Coast Guard. The purpose of the operation is to “draw public attention to the hazards of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) of alcohol and drugs” by increasing patrols.

The other goal of Operation Dry Water is to detect and enforce BUI laws in order to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents on the water as well as reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage associated with boat crashes related to speed, aggressive driving, and the impaired operation of vessels.

The July Fourth holiday weekend is known for having more vessels on the water and a slight increase in boater accidents.

Attorney for BUI Crimes in Pinellas County, FL

If you were arrested for boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced attorney. At Sammis Law Firm, we represent clients on a wide variety of boating crimes including BUI, refusal to submit to a breath test after a BUI arrest, and reckless boating.

If you do not avoid a conviction for BUI, then the court is required to impose harsh penalties and adjudicate you to be guilty of the offense which creates a permanent criminal record that can never be sealed or expunged. Other penalties imposed by the court might include jail or probation, steep fines, court costs, a requirement to complete community service, a requirement to complete a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended follow-up treatment, and a requirement to complete a boating safety course.

Although a BUI will not result in a suspension or revocation of your driving record, it will be used against you if you are ever arrested for DUI. Under Section 327.35(6)(i) and Section 316.193(6)(m), a BUI conviction counts as a DUI for purposes of determining whether the next offense is a second DUI within five years, a third DUI within 10 years, or a fourth-lifetime offense.

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm understand the standard operating procedures used by officers with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office when it comes to stopping a vessel on the water, conducting a boater safety inspection, or conducting a BUI investigation. We can help you spot issues that others might miss.

With offices in Clearwater, FL, we represent clients on misdemeanor and felony offenses throughout Pinellas County, FL.

Call 813-250-0500.

Additional Resources

BUI Arrests in Operation Dry Water – Visit the website of the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to learn more about the way BUI cases are investigated and prosecuted. The organization provides support, education, and resources to law enforcement officers who patrol the waterways and enforce boater safety laws and conduct investigations for boating while impaired. For Operation Dry Water 2022 agencies that participate must complete a Law Enforcement Report Form that identifies the Agency, USCG District (if applicable), USCG Sector (if applicable), Types of Activities Performed (Saturation Patrol Response, Checkpoints Response, or Heightened Awareness During Normal Patrol); Number of Officers that worked ODW weekend; Number of Vessels Contacted; Number of Boaters Contacted, Number of Boating Citations Issued, Number of BUI – Alcohol Arrests/Citations, Number of BUI – Drug Arrests/Citations, Highest BAC Level (if known), Number of Boating Safety Warnings; and Other agencies/stations whose Operation Dry Water results are included in this report (if any).

Avoiding a BUI – Tips from FWC Officers – Visit the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)  to learn more about how FWC partners with other local law enforcement agencies to help reduce boating under the influence crimes in the waterways throughout Pinellas County, FL. This press release dated 3/31/2022 discusses boating safety tips from Bryce Phillippi and Capt. Evan Laskowski, FWC Southwest Region Division of Law Enforcement. The press release explains why the Southwest Region Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers, in partnership with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Treasure Island Police Department, and United States Coast Guard, will be conducting enhanced patrols to find vessel operators boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The press release also offers safety tips including picking a designated operator of the vessel before you leave the boat ramp, having the property safety equipment on board, and wearing a life jacket on the boat.

This article was last updated on Friday, July 1, 2022.