Reckless Operation of a Watercraft
This week, my office has been inundated with phone calls for reckless operation of a watercraft in Lake Havasu. Reckless operation of a watercraft, otherwise known as reckless operation of a boat, is very similar to the charge of reckless driving. So what is reckless? Reckless is a very subjective term. Arizona law does not provide elements as to what justifies a reckless operation of watercraft charge. That said, it is entirely up to what the police officer believes to be reckless. In other words, if officer Jones believes that the way you were driving your boat or your JetSki is reckless then Officer Jones can cite you for reckless operation of a watercraft. On the other hand, if officer Martinez does not find that the way you are operating your boat was reckless, then officer Martinez simply does not have to cite you with a reckless operation watercraft charge.
So how do we fight reckless operation watercraft charged in Lake Havasu? The answer is simple, we make the argument to the prosecutor and the judge that if we use a reasonable person standard, the way in which our client operated their boat or JetSki was not reckless. For example, this morning I spoke to a father whose son was operating a jet ski going 15 mph. The officer believed that his son was driving the JetSki too close to another JetSki. For this reason, the person’s son was cited for reckless operation of watercraft. The gentleman I spoke with has been boating for several years and did not believe that the way in which his son was opera and JetSki was reckless.
It is my opinion, that the police departments often pull people over for reckless driving of a watercraft just to investigate whether or not a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. If they find out that the person was not DUI, out of pride, they still issue the citation for reckless operation watercraft.
What you have to remember is, reckless operational watercraft is a misdemeanor. This means that if you’re ever asked whether you’ve been convicted of a crime, you have to say yes. The gentleman that I spoke with this morning, was worried about the wrong thing. Instead of being concerned as to whether or not his son would wind up with a criminal conviction on his record, he was concerned with what the fine would be. While it is true that our legal fees will be more than the fine, it is worth the investment to not have a criminal conviction on your record.
In some situations, not only can we prevent our clients from having a reckless operation of watercraft criminal conviction on the record, we can structure a resolution of the case where our clients will never have to set foot in court. Our attorneys in Lake Havasu really cannot make this process any easier for our clients.