In Arizona, it is illegal to operate any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs — including boats or personal watercraft. Operating under the influence, or OUI, is a charge that carries with it steep penalties that can have a lasting impact on your daily life.

Those who plan on spending the day on a boat on Lake Havasu should be aware of the boating laws.

Arizona boating laws: What you need to know

Arizona boating laws regarding operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are very similar to those regarding operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Any person who is operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent is considered to be intoxicated. The OUI charges are more severe based on the level of alcohol in the person’s blood at the time of arrest. A person with a BAC between .08 and .15 percent will be charged with a regular OUI, while an individual with a BAC higher than .15 percent will be charged with an extreme OUI.

Law enforcement officials in Lake Havasu City make it a priority to monitor boaters and verify that they are not operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Boating while under the influence is a driving factor in many of the boating accidents that occur on the water, some of which can lead to serious injury or even death. During the summer months, boaters may encounter OUI checkpoints on Lake Havasu.

The penalties for OUIs can vary significantly based on the type of OUI that an individual is charged with and any prior convictions that a person may have. Penalties for OUIs can include:

  • Serving time in jail
  • Paying fines that may be between $1,200 and $2,700
  • Having to complete court-ordered community service
  • Having to complete court-ordered alcohol education or treatment programs
  • Having to complete routine drug or alcohol screening

What you need to do if you have been charged with an OUI in Lake Havasu City

If you have been charged with operating a boat while under the influence on Lake Havasu, then the first step you need to take is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. The right Lake Havasu City criminal defense attorney will be able to advocate for you and provide you with the most favorable results possible. You do not have to be stuck facing severe penalties for one mistake made during a day on the water. Contact our law office today to set up a consultation appointment with an experienced local criminal defense attorney.