Getting out on the water is a great way to beat the summer Arizona heat, but if you consume alcohol while operating your watercraft, you may be spending time in a cool jail cell. Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws, and that includes our boating DUI or Operating Under the Influence (OUI) laws. If you are arrested for a boating DUI or OUI, you could be facing serious consequences that could not only ruin your summer but affect your life for years to come.
Penalties of an AZ Boating OUI
While not as stringent as a Driving Under the Influence or DUI, boating OUIs are no laughing matter. The same rules apply as driving – any operation of a boat or personal watercraft with a BAC of .08% or greater can land you in jail and rack up thousands of dollars in fines and fees, along with other penalties. Like DUIs, there are different levels of OUIs, depending on the BAC of the operator and whether they have prior convictions, including a regular OUI and two levels of Extreme OUI. For first-time offenders, these are some of the penalties you can face:
- .08 – < .15% BAC. Minimum of 10 days in jail at your expense, at least $1250 in fines, possible community service and possible drug/alcohol screening and counseling at your expense.
- .15 – < .20% BAC. Minimum of 30 days in jail at your expense, fines of more than $2,500, possible community restitution and possible drug/alcohol screening and counseling at your expense.
- > .20% BAC. Minimum of 45 days in jail at your expense, fines of $2,750 or more, possible community service and possible drug/alcohol screening and counseling at your expense.
Most OUI convictions are a misdemeanor, but for some extreme or aggravated OUI convictions, you could be facing a felony being placed on your record. Extreme or aggravated OUI can occur not only for high BACs but also depending on the circumstance. If you have prior OUIs (three convictions within 84 months) or endanger a minor under the age of 15 that is aboard the watercraft, you can be facing an aggravated OUI and more serious penalties.
Lake Havasu is a Hot Spot for OUIs
Our wonderful Lake Havasu is one of the most popular places to go if you love cooling off in the water, but it is also swarming with law enforcement. Lake Havasu is not just an Arizona treasure, it is also treated as a Federal waterway. This means it is patrolled heavily and by several different law enforcement agencies. You may run into officers from the following agencies when you are on the lake and many of them have the ability to arrest you (or will alert other authorities) for a suspected OUI:
- Lake Havasu City police department
- San Bernardino and Mohave County Sherriff Departments
- S. Coast Guard
- Arizona Fish & Game and State Park Departments
Not only are their law enforcement patrols looking for any suspicious activities, they also often complete OUI checkpoints to detain any boaters suspected of OUI. One minute you could be enjoying a beautiful day on the lake, and then find yourself being detained and arrested for an OUI.
What to Do if You Are Arrested for a Boating OUI
Like a DUI, a boating OUI is a serious offense and it is in your best interest to make every attempt to have the charges reduced or dismissed. To accomplish this, you need an experienced Arizona attorney who specializes in DUI and OUI law. Our team at Matthew Lopez Law have helped many of our clients overcome a poor judgment call when out on their boat or watercraft by fighting tooth and nail for their OUI case.
If you are charged with an OUI, call one of our offices in Tempe, Apache Junction or Lake Havasu City and schedule a meeting with our legal team. We will sit down with you and discuss your case. There are ways to fight an OUI charge and reduce the impact on your life. We will listen to your side of the story and find out as much as we can from you about the details of your arrest. We will also investigate the arrest; if any mistakes were made by the arresting officers, we will find them and use them to benefit your case. Our mission is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients and we have successfully had DUIs and OUIs reduced or dismissed using our methods.
Don’t let a mistake make a mess of your life. If you have been charged with a boating DUI/OUI, let our experienced legal team at Matthew Lopez Law go to work for you. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and begin putting this chapter of your life behind you.