The Consequences of Boating While Drunk in Arizona
Many people believe (mistakenly) that DUIs on the road are the only alcohol and drug-related charges pertaining to vehicle operation. This isn’t the case. Operating under the influence (OUI) refers to the operation of any means of transportation. Boats and yachts are included in the definition of OUI. Let’s see the consequences of boating while drunk in Arizona.
Arizona OUI Regulations
The penalties for OUI in the state of Arizona are as severe as those for people who commit DUI. These regulations apply to the operation of any kind of watercraft like a boat, a yacht or even a jet ski. OUI charges also apply to individuals operating watercraft on all kinds of basins – rivers, waterways, lakes, etc.
The terms and conditions of boating OUI are defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 5-395.
According to this legal provision, the operation of watercraft is illegal whenever the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. OUI for recreational watercraft is linked to BAC reading of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial watercraft, the blood alcohol content is 0.04 percent or higher.
Depending on the specifics of the violation, a person can be charged with OUI or aggravated OUI. Aggravated OUI charges are usually the result of repeat offense, BAC of 0.15 or more and having a passenger aged 15 or younger on the watercraft.
The penalties for OUIs in Arizona vary. A first-time offender (when there are no aggravating circumstances) will be charged with misdemeanor. If there’s any jail time as a part of the sentence, it would be suspended through the completion of an alcohol or drug counseling program. Additional penalties include a fine of up to 2,100 dollars.
Second-time offenders face a minimum of 90 days in jail and a fine of 2,500 dollars.
People who have BAC of over 0.15 percent can expect a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. The penalty for first-time offenders is a minimum of 30 days in jail, a fine of 2,500 dollars and the mandatory completion of alcohol classes.
Are There OUI Checkpoints?
Here’s one interesting question – how can Arizona law enforcement professionals determine whether you’ve committed OUI?
Just like police officers work hard to ensure the safety of roads, they’re also concerned on waterway safety. This is especially true during the active summer season when many people go for family vacations on a lake or a river.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will usually send its wardens to patrol on the waterways. These professionals could be aided by representatives of other Arizona agencies. OUI checkpoints will be organized and they will take place in a manner similar to the way in which DUI checkpoints work.
Arizona Game and Fish Department representatives are licensed peace officers. This means that they have the same right as police officers when doing investigative stops to check boating while drunk in Arizona.
Possible Defense Scenarios
Being charged with OUI doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty. Make sure that you’ve gotten in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It’s also very important to cooperate with the police but refrain from doing anything self-incriminating.
You can refuse to do a field sobriety test. You can also refuse a breathalyzer test. If you do the second thing, however, your driving privileges may be revoked regardless of the fact that you’re being charged of OUI.
A good lawyer will craft the best defense strategy under the specific circumstances.
The OUI defenses are very similar to what DUI lawyers will do for their clients. No probable cause for arrest is the first line of defense. The same applies to identifying procedural errors like a Miranda Rights violation or an illegal search and seizure being performed.
Lawyers could also choose to challenge BAC test results. Depending on the experience of the operator and the manner in which the test was performed, a false positive could occur.