Van Riper | Nies Attorneys                         561-962-3130
Palm Beach DUI Defense

Boating Under the Influence Defense

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Van Riper & Nies relies on hard work, open communication and an aggressive defense to bring justice to our clients accused of BUI.

Our  attorneys, Christian Van Riper and Tim Nies are experienced trial attorneys. Christian is an avid boater and a former prosecuting attorney for the state of Florida, where he prosecuted and tried many Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Boating Under the Influence (BUI) cases. From his years as a state attorney, Christian has a unique insight into how prosecutors evaluate DUI cases. 

Our lawyers are known for the personal attention we give to our clients, and for leaving no stone unturned in our fight for our clients' rights. 
Wouldn't it be comforting to know that you hired an attorney that genuinely cares about you and your family, and will work hard to make sure that you, or your loved one's legal and constitutional rights are being fought for? 

Boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol charge is similar to driving under the influence (DUI). To be found guilty of a BUI, under Florida Statutes Section 327.35, the operator of captain of the vessel must have:

1.      A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more; or

2.      Impaired mental/physical abilities due to alcohol or controlled drug or narcotic.

3.      For operators under 21, the legal limit is .02% BAC.

Florida and federal law enforcement officers investigating a boating under the influence case often must make an on-the-spot decision, using their judgment, as to whether to make an arrest for a BUI or not. It is not uncommon for these law enforcement officers to make errors in judgment.


A BUI arrest near Florida’s shores, in the Intracoastal, canals or rivers are usually made by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officers or local police departments or sheriff’s officers. The U.S. Coast Guard also has the authority to arrest those who are boating under the influence, but usually off Florida’s shorelines.


The penalties in Florida are just as severe for BUI as for DUI, including monetary fines, community service, probation, rehabilitation and jail time.  Specifically, a boating under the influence conviction for even a first-time BUI offense may result in monetary fines and/or up to 6 months jail time. A second BUI conviction may result up to one year in jail and a third BUI conviction may result in a 5 year jail sentence.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or refusal to take a breathalyzer test, contact our attorneys as soon as possible. Our head of the BUI practice group, Christian Van Riper, is a former prosecutor for the State of Florida and fights hard for the legal and Constitutional rights of his clients.  

For a free consultation and for more information about our BUI Defense practice, please call 561-962-3130, complete the form below or email us at

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