Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Florida? Many people are unsure of the answer to this question and for good reason. There is not a lot of precedent set when it comes to criminal charges related to kayaking.
However, we can take a look at what is known about DUI law in Florida and try to make an informed guess as to what might happen in such a situation. Keep reading for more information.
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What is Kayaking?
Kayaking is a recreational sport that involves paddling your way across water. It can be done on many types of waters including lakes and rivers and there are several different purposes for kayaking. Some people simply enjoy it as a hobby, while others use it to get from point A to point B in the event of an emergency such as evacuation during a hurricane. The act of kayaking itself is not considered dangerous, but it can be difficult to judge your level of sobriety while you are on the water.
What is a DUI?
DUI is the abbreviation for driving under the influence. In some states, a DUI is used to refer to any criminal offense where driving was related. In others, it is used more specifically for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
In Florida, a DUI can be levied if a motorist’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level is above 0.08%. The BAC limit for boating is the same as it is for driving on land.
Can You Get a DUI On a Kayak In Florida?
For the answer to this question, let’s take a look at what Florida law has to say about boating under the influence.
Florida Statute 327.35 applies to all vessels in Florida waters. It states that it is illegal for any person to operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No distinction is made between powered and non-powered craft.
There are no specific limits set for BAC in this statute, but Florida law states that it is unlawful to operate any vessel with a BAC of .08% or above.
What Happens If You Get A DUI On a Kayak In Florida?
If you are found guilty of boating under the influence in Florida, you will be punished as if it were a standard DUI charge. The penalties for DUI (and boat DUI) are as follows:
Suspension of Driver License:
For a first DUI, the accused’s driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. For a second DUI within five years, the suspension is 9 months. And for a third or subsequent DUI in 5 years, the suspension is 12 months.
A sentence of up to six (6) months may be imposed for a first offense. For a second offense within 10 years, a sentence of up to 9 months may be handed down. And for a third or subsequent DUI in 10 years, the maximum penalty is 12 months in jail.
The fines associated with a DUI are hefty and will only increase with each successive offense. A first time offender can expect to pay $1000 or more.
The accused must complete a DUI prevention course certified by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
Ignition interlock device:
To get your license reinstated after suspension, you will need to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle you drive. These are very expensive devices that require a monthly maintenance fee as well.
You will likely be placed on probation for 12 months or more which can include other penalties such as random drug tests, community service hours and installation of an ignition interlock device.
Hopefully, I have answered your question, “Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Florida?” With the information provided above, it is my opinion that if you are found to be operating any watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida, then yes, you can definitely face DUI charges even if you were just floating around on your kayak.
Is a DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
In Florida, a DUI is a misdemeanor. However, if the accused has two prior convictions within five years, then it can be elevated to a felony charge.
What Should I Do If I Get Charged With A DUI In Florida?
If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, you should seek legal advice immediately. A qualified attorney can examine your case and help guide you toward the best possible outcome.
DUI charges are very serious and could cost you thousands of dollars in fines, time in jail, loss of your driver license, loss of employment or even impact your immigration status.
Is it legal to kayak at night in Florida?
Yes, it is legal to kayak at night in Florida as long as you have the proper lighting and safety gear. Kayaking at night can be a great way to see the stars and experience the peace of being out on the water. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines and be aware of your surroundings.
Can I get a DUI on a kayak in Florida?
As discussed above, if you are found to be operating any water vessel with impaired faculties due to drugs or alcohol, then yes, you can face DUI charges.
How will I know that I am over the limit while boating?
You won’t. Police can conduct tests if they have reasonable suspicion that you are impaired. At that point, the BUI laws in Florida would kick in and even a small amount of alcohol could get you arrested.
What is the punishment for a DUI/BUI in Florida?
As discussed above, your penalties depend on whether it is a first offense or not. In addition, the judge might impose additional penalties such as jail time, community service hours, fines and even an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for several months to years after the sentence has elapsed.