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How long does a BUI stay on your record in Florida?




Understanding Boating Under the Influence (BUI) in Florida

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a serious offense in Florida, similar to Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Understanding the implications of a BUI conviction is crucial for anyone operating a vessel in Florida waters. This section will cover what constitutes a BUI and the legal ramifications.

What Constitutes a BUI in Florida?

In Florida, a person is considered to be operating a vessel under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, or if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol to the extent that their normal faculties are affected. Law enforcement officers have the authority to stop and test boat operators suspected of being under the influence.

Similar to DUI laws, BUI laws are enforced rigorously to ensure safety on the waterways. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other law enforcement agencies actively patrol the waters to prevent accidents and ensure compliance with the law.

For more detailed information on BUI laws and enforcement, you can refer to our Florida Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Guide and learn about the BUI enforcement procedures on Florida waters.

What is Boating Under the Influence (BUI)? Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is defined as operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol or drugs, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

Being aware of what constitutes a BUI is essential for all boaters. Not only does it help in avoiding legal trouble, but it also ensures the safety of everyone on the water. If you are facing a BUI charge, understanding the legal definitions and implications can help you navigate the situation more effectively.

For those under 21, the rules are even stricter. Florida has zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and boating. If you are under 21 and caught with any detectable alcohol level, you could face severe penalties.

To understand more about underage BUI laws, visit our page on under 21 BUI laws in Florida.

Remember, staying informed and adhering to the law is the best way to enjoy Florida’s beautiful waterways safely and responsibly. If you find yourself facing a BUI charge, it is crucial to seek legal advice immediately to understand your options and protect your rights.

How Long Does a BUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?

A BUI conviction in Florida remains on your criminal record permanently. Unlike some minor offenses that may fall off your record after a certain period, a BUI is treated with the same severity as a DUI and will stay on your record for life. This can have long-lasting effects on various aspects of your life.

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Permanent Record Implications

Having a BUI on your record means that it will appear in background checks for employment, housing, and other purposes. This can make it challenging to secure jobs, especially those that require a clean record or involve operating vehicles or vessels.

What is the impact of a BUI on your record? A BUI conviction will permanently stay on your record, affecting various aspects of your life including employment, housing, and insurance.

Florida has very strict laws when it comes to your driving and your record. By administrative rule, all alcohol-related driving offenses stay on your driving record for 75 years. Yes, you read that right, 75 years. A BUI arrest is going to be around for as long as you will be driving. However, its impact changes over time.

Some people mistakenly believe a BUI comes off your record after three years. This mistake is based on the three-year requirement to carry elevated insurance (SR-22 or FR-44). Even after the insurance requirement is reduced, the BUI stays on your record.

Long-Term Effects on Employment

Having a BUI on your record can be a significant barrier to employment. Many employers conduct background checks, and a BUI can be a red flag, especially for jobs that require a clean driving record or involve the operation of vehicles or vessels. For example, if you are applying for a job as a commercial driver or a boat operator, a BUI conviction could disqualify you from consideration.

Additionally, the financial burden of fines, legal fees, and mandatory programs can be overwhelming. If you’re a professional, such as a nurse or a commercial airline pilot, a BUI conviction can jeopardize your career and professional license.

Effects on Housing and Insurance

When it comes to housing, landlords often perform background checks on potential tenants. A BUI conviction can make it difficult to secure rental housing. Landlords may view a BUI as a sign of irresponsible behavior, making them hesitant to rent to individuals with such convictions on their records.

Insurance companies also take a dim view of BUI convictions. Similar to a DUI, a BUI conviction can lead to significantly higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies view individuals with a BUI conviction as high-risk, which results in increased rates. This can make it challenging to afford necessary insurance coverage.

For more detailed information on how a BUI affects your insurance, visit our page on BUI insurance impact.

Any alcohol-related driving offense is treated very seriously by the State of Florida. Those offenses stay on your record and are used in subsequent arrests to enhance the penalties. I have seen arrests 20-30 years ago come back to haunt clients and increase the penalties they face for a new arrest.

An arrest for a second BUI less than 5 years after the first BUI conviction requires mandatory jail time. An arrest for a second BUI 5 years and a day after a first BUI conviction does not mandate jail, but there are elevated penalties.

And it does not matter where your BUI occurred. BUIs in other states can still be used against you to enhance your Florida BUI arrest penalties. There are strategies for dealing with out-of-state convictions, but these vary by case.

For more on how prior DUI convictions can impact your BUI case, visit our page on prior DUI impact on BUI.

Why Does Florida Keep BUIs on Record for So Long?

There is no clear reason why the State picked 75 years as the number of years a BUI stays on your record. It only makes sense to see this high number as an intention to deter repeat offenders and to punish people who get a second or greater BUI.

The enhanced penalties that come with a second or greater BUI arrest include higher fines, longer license suspensions, more classes, and ignition interlocks. And it doesn’t make a difference if the case was 6 years ago or 60 years ago. There are still going to be enhanced penalties.

To learn more about the penalties and legal consequences of a BUI, refer to our Florida Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Guide.

In summary, a BUI conviction in Florida is a serious matter with long-lasting consequences. It stays on your record permanently, affecting your employment, housing, and insurance. Understanding these implications can help you make informed decisions and seek appropriate legal counsel when necessary.

Can a BUI Be Expunged from Your Record?

In Florida, expunging a BUI from your record is generally not possible. The state has strict laws regarding the expungement of alcohol-related offenses. However, there are specific conditions under which you might be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed, which could potentially lead to expungement.

Conditions for Expungement

To expunge a BUI, you would need to have the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as reckless boating. This typically requires the help of an experienced BUI defense attorney who can negotiate on your behalf and explore all legal avenues to mitigate the charges.

What is expungement? Expungement is the legal process of sealing or erasing a criminal record from public view, making it inaccessible to potential employers, landlords, and others.

Here are the main conditions under which expungement might be possible:

  • Dismissal of Charges: If the charges against you are dismissed, you can petition to have the record expunged.
  • Reduction to Lesser Offense: If your BUI charge is reduced to a lesser offense, such as reckless boating, and adjudication is withheld, you may be eligible for expungement.
  • First-Time Offenders: First-time offenders may have more opportunities to negotiate for charge reductions or dismissals, which could lead to expungement.

It’s important to note that even if you meet these conditions, expungement is not guaranteed. The process is complex and requires navigating Florida’s legal system, which is why having a knowledgeable attorney by your side is invaluable.

There are several legal strategies that can be employed to increase the chances of having your BUI charges reduced or dismissed:

  1. Questioning the Legality of the Stop: If the initial stop was not based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence gathered during the stop may be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case.
  2. Challenging the Accuracy of Chemical Tests: Breathalyzers and other chemical tests are not infallible. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.
  3. Scrutinizing the Officer’s Observations and Procedures: The observations and procedures followed by the arresting officer are critical components of a BUI case. Any deviations from standard protocols or inconsistencies in the officer’s report can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

For more detailed information on how to challenge BUI charges, visit our page on BUI defenses in Florida.

Impact of Prior DUI Convictions

It’s also important to understand how prior DUI convictions can impact your BUI case. Florida law allows previous DUI convictions to be used to enhance the penalties for a new BUI arrest. This means that if you have a prior DUI on your record, the stakes are even higher.

For instance, an arrest for a second BUI less than five years after the first BUI conviction requires mandatory jail time. An arrest for a second BUI five years and a day after a first BUI conviction does not mandate jail, but there are elevated penalties.

To learn more about how prior DUI convictions can affect your BUI case, visit our page on prior DUI impact on BUI.

Given the complexities and severe consequences of a BUI conviction, having skilled legal representation is crucial. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system, challenge the evidence against you, and negotiate for the best possible outcome.

If you find yourself facing BUI charges, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. The right attorney can make all the difference in your case, potentially leading to a reduction or dismissal of charges and opening the door to expungement.

For more information on how to defend against BUI charges, visit our page on beating BUI charges.


Long-Term Consequences of a BUI Conviction

The long-term consequences of a BUI conviction extend beyond legal penalties. These can include increased insurance rates, difficulties in securing employment, and potential travel restrictions. Understanding these consequences can help you make informed decisions and seek appropriate legal counsel.

Impact on Insurance and Employment

A BUI conviction can lead to significantly higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies view individuals with a BUI conviction as high-risk, which results in increased rates. Additionally, many employers conduct background checks, and a BUI on your record can be a red flag, making it harder to find employment, especially in fields that require a clean record.

What is the impact of a BUI on insurance? A BUI conviction can result in significantly higher insurance premiums, as insurance companies consider individuals with a BUI conviction to be high-risk.

Here are some ways a BUI conviction can affect your insurance and employment:

  • Insurance Premium Hikes: After a BUI conviction, expect your insurance rates to skyrocket. Insurance companies categorize you as a high-risk client, which translates to higher premiums.
  • Employment Challenges: Many employers require background checks, and a BUI on your record can be a significant hurdle. Jobs that involve operating vehicles or require a clean record may be off-limits.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions, such as healthcare or commercial driving, may revoke or suspend your professional license following a BUI conviction.

For more detailed information on how a BUI can impact your insurance policies, visit our page on BUI insurance impact.

Travel Restrictions

Traveling with a BUI conviction on your record can also pose significant challenges. Some countries have strict entry policies for individuals with criminal records, including BUI convictions. For instance, Canada and Mexico may deny entry to individuals with a BUI conviction.

Can a BUI affect travel? Yes, a BUI conviction can result in travel restrictions, as some countries may deny entry to individuals with a criminal record.

Here are some travel-related consequences of a BUI conviction:

  • Denied Entry: Countries like Canada and Mexico may refuse entry to individuals with a BUI conviction.
  • Rental Car Issues: Renting a car can become problematic, as rental companies often conduct background checks and may refuse service to individuals with a BUI conviction.
  • Visa Complications: Applying for visas can be more challenging, as many countries require disclosure of criminal records.

To understand more about how a BUI conviction can affect your ability to travel, visit our page on prior DUI impact on BUI.

Personal and Social Consequences

Beyond the legal and financial implications, a BUI conviction can also have profound personal and social consequences. The stigma associated with a criminal record can affect your relationships and social standing. Friends and family may view you differently, and the stress of dealing with a BUI conviction can take a toll on your mental health.

What are the personal consequences of a BUI? A BUI conviction can lead to social stigma, strained relationships, and mental health challenges.

Here are some personal and social consequences of a BUI conviction:

  • Social Stigma: The stigma of having a criminal record can affect how others perceive you, potentially leading to strained relationships and social isolation.
  • Mental Health Impact: The stress and anxiety of dealing with a BUI conviction can affect your mental health, leading to issues such as depression or anxiety.
  • Family Dynamics: A BUI conviction can strain family relationships, especially if it leads to financial difficulties or legal battles.

For more information on how to handle the personal and social consequences of a BUI, visit our page on BUI charges on personal watercraft.

The legal consequences of a BUI conviction can be severe and long-lasting. These can include fines, jail time, and mandatory alcohol education programs. Additionally, a BUI conviction can be used to enhance penalties for future offenses, making it crucial to understand the full scope of the legal implications.

What are the legal consequences of a BUI? A BUI conviction can result in fines, jail time, mandatory programs, and enhanced penalties for future offenses.

Here are some legal consequences and future implications of a BUI conviction:

  • Fines and Jail Time: Depending on the severity of the offense, you may face substantial fines and potential jail time.
  • Mandatory Programs: Courts often require individuals convicted of BUI to attend alcohol education or treatment programs.
  • Enhanced Penalties: A BUI conviction can be used to enhance penalties for future offenses, including longer jail sentences and higher fines.

To learn more about the legal strategies for defending against a BUI, visit our page on beating BUI charges.

Understanding the long-term consequences of a BUI conviction is crucial for making informed decisions and seeking appropriate legal counsel. If you find yourself facing BUI charges, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your future.

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Infographic depicting the words How long does a BUI stay on your record in Florida?


How long does a BUI stay on your record in Florida?

A BUI conviction in Florida remains on your criminal record permanently. Unlike some minor offenses that may fall off your record after a certain period, a BUI is treated with the same severity as a DUI and will stay on your record for life. This can have long-lasting effects on various aspects of your life.

Can a BUI be expunged from your record in Florida?

In Florida, expunging a BUI from your record is generally not possible. The state has strict laws regarding the expungement of alcohol-related offenses. However, there are specific conditions under which you might be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed, which could potentially lead to expungement.

What are the long-term consequences of a BUI conviction?

The long-term consequences of a BUI conviction extend beyond legal penalties. These can include increased insurance rates, difficulties in securing employment, and potential travel restrictions. Understanding these consequences can help you make informed decisions and seek appropriate legal counsel.

How does a BUI affect your insurance rates?

A BUI conviction can lead to significantly higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies view individuals with a BUI conviction as high-risk, which results in increased rates. Additionally, many employers conduct background checks, and a BUI on your record can be a red flag, making it harder to find employment, especially in fields that require a clean record.

What are the penalties for Reckless Driving? Reckless Driving is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a $500 fine. You can also lose your driver’s license for up to six months.

For more information on related legal topics, you can explore our comprehensive guide on refusing breath tests in BUI cases or learn about the strategies to beat BUI charges.

If you have further questions or need legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. At Leppard Law, we are dedicated to providing you with the best possible defense.


Explore additional practice areas we serve to understand the breadth of our legal expertise.

Florida BUI Guide Reckless Vessel Operation
Under 21 BUI Laws BUI Breath Test Refusal
FWC BUI Investigations Coast Guard BUI Investigations
Beating BUI Charges BUI Field Sobriety Tests
Drinking on Boats BUI Enforcement in Florida
Boating with Suspended License BUI on Personal Watercraft
BUI Accident Charges Stopped for BUI
BUI on Non-Moving Boat Prior DUI Impact on BUI

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Choosing the appropriate legal representation is crucial when pursuing a claim. A seasoned, committed DUI attorney ensures you’re equipped to make informed choices at each phase of the process.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. This is just a portion of our hundreds of 5-star reviews on Facebook, Google, Thumbtack, Yelp, and more. You can read more 5-star reviews here: https://leppardlaw.com/reviews/








Take Control of Your Future with Leppard Law

Being charged with a BUI in Florida can be overwhelming and stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Leppard Law: DUI Attorneys, we treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome for their case.

What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? Imagine having someone who has your back when things get tough, a lawyer who knows you as well as they know your case. That’s what you get with Leppard Law.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our dedication and client-focused approach have earned us numerous accolades and recognition:

  • Named as one of “Top Personal Injury Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 by Expertise
  • Highlighted among the “Top Personal Injury Attorneys near Sanford, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Listed among the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sanford” from 2016-2023 by Expertise
  • SuperLawyers “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers 2019 – 2020
  • Awesome Attorneys Orlando by Orlando Family Magazine 2019-2023

Our attorneys are as renowned for their legal skills as they are for their client-focus. Leppard Law is ranked among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise 2016-24 and “Best DUI Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise 2016-24.

With over 60 years of combined experience defending thousands of Floridians accused of crimes, our attorneys are renowned for both their trial advocacy and skillful negotiations. We strive to achieve the best results for our clients, including countless dismissals and reductions.

Being charged with a crime, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, can cause a lot of anxiety. If you are not properly represented, the stigma of being branded as a “criminal” may follow you around for many years to come. Rest easy and pick up the phone. We’re here to help!

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at 407-476-4111. One call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your BUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton