Tampa Maritime Offense Lawyer

Maritime offenses occur on the water, whether on a pond or river or on the high seas of the Atlantic. But most cases involving maritime offenses raise complicated legal issues around jurisdiction, i.e., which governmental body or court has the power to hear the case. Rivers and lakes often cross state borders, and no nation owns the ocean. These legal complexities must be in the forefront of any representation for a Tampa maritime offense.

At Trombley & Hanes, our Tampa maritime offense lawyers have represented defendants accused of all sorts of crimes out on the water. Whether you are accused of something as mundane as boating under the influence or stand accused of participating in an international drug trafficking scheme, we can help. Contact our law firm to schedule a consultation.

Boating Under the Influence

Florida Statute § 327.35 makes it a crime to boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is very similar to the state’s DUI law. A person can be convicted if their blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher or the person’s normal faculties are impaired by any amount of alcohol or drugs.

Penalties will depend on whether this is a first or subsequent conviction:

  • First conviction: maximum six months in jail and $1,000 fine
  • Second conviction: maximum nine months in jail and $2,000 fine
  • Third conviction: a third-degree felony if committed within 10 years of a prior conviction, and penalties reaching up to 5 years in prison.

The defenses our lawyers raise will depend on the facts. For example, the authorities might not have had legal justification to stop you, in which case we might seek a dismissal of all charges.

Environmental Offenses

The government seeks to protect our state’s waterways and has passed multiple environmental laws against pollution. For example, a person can be charged under Florida Statute § 403.161 (1)(a) for dumping hazardous materials in Florida’s waterways.

It is also a crime if you fail to report the release of a hazardous substance under Fla. Stat. § 403.161(4). An owner or operator has one working day to report the release, with the clock beginning the day the release is discovered.

Failure to obtain a necessary permit can also qualify as a misdemeanor which could result in at least six months in jail for each offense.

Narcotics Trafficking

Tampa is a tempting destination for drug traffickers, who bring illegal substances into the country via boats. These crimes may be prosecuted by either the state or federal governments, but use of a vessel almost guarantees a federal prosecution.

The penalties typically depend on the amount of narcotics uncovered, but a defendant’s criminal history and whether a user dies are also critical factors. Penalties are generally severe. For example, a conviction for trafficking 5 grams of meth can result in up to 40 years in prison and a maximum $5 million fine. Someone with a prior conviction could face life in prison.

Speak with a Tampa Maritime Offense Lawyer Today

If you’ve been accused of a crime committed on the water, please contact Trombley & Hanes. Our Tampa Maritime Offense Lawyers have represented many accused defendants in cases like these. With our deep experience in criminal law, we can mount a vigorous defense to challenge the credibility of the government’s evidence. Contact us to schedule a meeting.

Sub Bridge