Florida Statutes Title XXIV. Vessels § 327.355. Operation of vessels by persons under 21 years of age who have consumed alcoholic beverages

(1)(a) Notwithstanding s. 327.35 , it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 who has a breath-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher to operate or be in actual physical control of a vessel.

(b) A law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a vessel is being operated by or is in the actual physical control of a person who is under the age of 21 while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or who has any breath-alcohol level may lawfully detain such a person and may request that person to submit to a test to determine his or her breath-alcohol level.  If the person under the age of 21 refuses to submit to such testing, the law enforcement officer shall warn the person that failure to submit to the breath test will result in the required performance of 50 hours of public service and that his or her vessel operating privilege will be suspended until the public service is performed.  Failure or refusal to submit to a breath test after this warning is a violation of this section.

(2) Any person under the age of 21 who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a vessel upon the waters of this state, by so operating such vessel, is deemed to have expressed his or her consent to the provisions of this section.

(3) A breath test to determine breath-alcohol level pursuant to this section may be conducted as authorized by s. 316.1932 or s. 327.352 , or by a preliminary alcohol screening test device listed in the United States Department of Transportation's conforming-product list of evidential breath-measurement devices.  The reading from such a device is admissible in evidence in any trial or hearing.

(4) A violation of this section is a noncriminal infraction, and being detained pursuant to this section does not constitute an arrest.  This section does not bar prosecution under s. 327.35 , and the penalties provided herein shall be imposed in addition to any other penalty provided for boating under the influence or for refusal to submit to testing.

(5) A person convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be ordered by the court to:

(a) Participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours;

(b) Refrain from operating any vessel until the 50 hours of public service or community work has been performed;  and

(c) Enroll in, attend, and successfully complete, at his or her own expense, a classroom or online boating safety course that meets minimum standards established by commission rule.

(6) For the purposes of this section, “conviction” means a finding of guilt or the acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 948.01 , no court may suspend, defer, or withhold imposition of sentence for any violation of this section.  Any person who operates any vessel on the waters of this state while his or her vessel operating privilege is suspended pursuant to this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 .


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