Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Dropped after Appeal - BUI
Our client was operating a vessel with several people on board near the Sisters Creek Marina and was stopped for violating a Manatee Wake Zone. He complied with the officer's request to display each required piece of safety equipment and was then taken ashore to do field sobriety exercises which he failed. He was arrested and charged with BUI. We filed a motion to suppress all evidence because there was insufficient reasonable suspicion to detain our client to go ashore and take the field sobriety exercises. His bloodshot, watery eyes were from a day on the water. The smell of alcohol on his breath was merely a sign of consumption, not impairment. The open containers were not a sign of impairment. His use of the gunwale for balance while retrieving each safety item for the officer was not a sign of impairment but of good, smart boating. The court agreed at the hearing but only suppressed (kept out of evidence) the field sobriety exercises, letting the State still introduce his refusal of a breath test and all other evidence gathered after the detention. The State appealed the court's ruling. We cross-appealed arguing the court's ruling of suppression was correct but the order should suppress all evidence after the detention, not just the field sobriety exercises. We won on both issues on appeal. The charge was dropped.