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Boating & Voting Under the Influence

Again its that time of year when we all head to the polls, and in warmer temperature, the water. [at least if you are in Florida] However, whether you are voting for a candidate, or navigating a boat on a river, lake, inlet or ocean, both need to be excersided with caution. Most importantly, don't drink when doing either. Just as you vote is precious, so is the life of your passengers, others enjoying the water around you and yourself.

Also just as your "right" to vote is sacred, so are your constitutional rights. However, your constitutional rights to be free from "search and seizure" are pretty much left at the shore. You see, the minute your boat hits the water, your in a new world. Game and Marine Resource Officers, and any other form of law enforcement, have broad powers on the waters. For example, you can be stopped and boarded at any time for any reason. Law enforcement can even search any nook and cranny of your watercraft without permission. You can even be stoppped, searched and boarded on land - after having just pulled your boat ashore.

So a few brews on the high seas, even if you are doing nothing wrong, can result in an arrest for "Boating under the influence." How could that happen when you are not boating through a mantee zone or acting in a reckless manner? All a Florida Wildlife Commission officer has to say is "sir could you please stop, I need to conduct a safety inspection on your vessel." or "It appears you have been fishing & I'd like to look in your cooler to see if you have legally sized fish in there." So even if you didnt do anything wrong, by virtue of your being on the water,and the officer interacting with you, the officer can become aware that you are impaired thus resulting in a potential arrest for boating under the influence.

You see, a boat is different than a car. Operating a boat is deemed a privilege and has a "regulatory"or "administrative" standard applied to it. Driving in a car has constiutional rights applied to it for stop and detentions. What that means is, "that you have less to no rights in a boat. If you were however in a car, and not doing anything wrong, you can't be stopped."

So the moral of this "sea story," is, dont consume alcohol to excess and don't navigate a boat; drive a car or vote if your impaired. Should you, there is no telling where you'll end up and who you'll end up with.

At the Roden Law Firm, we pride ourselves in Boating Under the Influence, Driving Under the Influence and all other types of criminal law defense. Clients on the Treasure and Space Coast of Florida have relied on us, to protect their rights, and navigate the law of our state.

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Address: 5220 US Highway 1 Suite 104, #250 Vero Beach, FL 32967 Phone: (772) 538-8232