Arizona Boating OUI / DUI on a Boat, Jetski, or Other Watercraft

In Arizona, you cannot operate a motorized watercraft while you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs, or marijuana. Having a medical marijuana card is not a defense to an OUI charge involving impairment.

A boating DUI in Arizona can be charged if you are found to be operating a motorized boat or watercraft while you are impaired by alcohol, marijuana, or any other drugs.

This offense has similar penalties to a DUI charge. If you are facing this type of charge, you should schedule a consultation with the Shaw Law Firm to learn about your legal options.

 


Definition of a Motorized Watercraft

The OUI or BUI statute in Arizona is found at ARS §5-395. Under this statute, you can be charged with an OUI or BUI when you are operating or have actual physical control of any type of motorized watercraft in Arizona when you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

Under ARS § 5-301, a motorized watercraft includes any type of watercraft that has a propulsion system using machinery regardless of whether it is the primary means of propulsion. This means that you can get a BUI or OUI when you are slightly impaired and operating or in control of most types of personal watercraft in addition to motorboats.


Penalties for a Boating OUI / DUI on a Boat in Arizona

The penalties you might face for a BUI or OUI will depend on your criminal record and whether any aggravating factors were present. If you have prior DUI, BUI, or OUI convictions within the past 84 months, the penalties will be more severe.

Similarly, if you had someone under the age of 15 with you on the watercraft, the penalties will be harsher.

Finally, if your BAC for alcohol was above 0.15% within two hours of operating your watercraft or being in actual control of it, you will face more severe penalties.


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First Time Regular Boating OUI / DUI on a Boat / BUI

A first regular boating DUI, OUI, or BUI offense in Arizona will carry the following penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • From 10 days up to six months in jail
  • Nine of the 10 days may be suspended upon successful completion of a substance abuse assessment and following any treatment recommendations
  • Fines, fees, and surcharges from $1,250 up to $2,500
  • Substance abuse classes or treatment may be ordered
  • Probation

If you are convicted of a second boating DUI, OUI, or BUI offense within seven years, you will face the following penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • From 90 days up to six months in jail with 30 days served consecutively
  • 60 days may be suspended upon the successful completion of a substance abuse screening and recommended treatment
  • Fees, fines, and assessments of up to $3,000
  • 30 community service hours
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • Probation

If you are convicted of a third boating DUI, OUI, or BUI within seven years, the penalties will be much harsher. You will face the following potential penalties:

  • Class 4 felony on your record
  • Fines and fees of at least $4,000
  • Mandatory minimum of four months in prison
  • Drug and alcohol assessment
  • Treatment may be ordered
  • Probation
  • May lose your watercraft operating privileges
  • The judge might order you to forfeit your watercraft

DUI while Driving a Boat

Penalties for an Extreme Boating DUI / OUI / BUI Charge

If your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15% up to 0.199% within two hours of operating your watercraft, you would be charged with an extreme OUI offense. This carries harsher penalties than a standard OUI.

If you have prior convictions within the past seven years, the penalties will also be more severe.

If you are convicted of an extreme OUI as a first offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • From 30 days up to six months in jail
  • Fees, fines, surcharges, and assessments of up to $2,500
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse screening and any treatment if ordered

If you are convicted of an extreme OUI as a second OUI or DUI offense within seven years, you will face the following penalties:

  • Mandatory minimum of 120 days in jail up to six months
  • Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • 60 days of the jail sentence must be served consecutively
  • Fines, assessments, and fees of up to $3,250
  • At least 30 community service hours
  • Substance abuse screening and following any treatment recommendations
  • Probation

If you are convicted of a third extreme OUI within seven years, it is an aggravated DUI / OUI. You will face the following potential penalties:

  • Class 4 felony on your record
  • Minimum of four months in prison
  • Fines, assessments, and fees of $4,000+
  • Substance abuse screening and potential treatment
  • Probation may be ordered
  • Forfeiture of your watercraft
  • Suspension of your operating privileges

Super Extreme Boating DUI, BUI, or OUI

If your blood alcohol concentration tests at 0.20% or higher within two hours of your arrest, you will be charged with a super-extreme BUI or OUI. This is the most severe type of Class 1 misdemeanor OUI offense in Arizona. The penalties that you will face will depend on your record.

If it is your first super extreme BUI conviction, you will face the following penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • From 45 days in jail up to six months
  • Minimum fines, fees, and assessments of $2,750+
  • Substance abuse assessment and treatment if ordered
  • Probation

If you are convicted of a super extreme OUI as a second offense within seven years, you will face the following penalties:

  • Six months in jail with at least 90 served consecutively
  • Fines, assessments, and fees of $3,750+
  • Substance abuse assessment and treatment if ordered
  • Probation

A third super extreme OUI within seven years will result in the following penalties:

  • Class 4 felony on your record
  • Minimum mandatory four months in prison
  • At least $4,000 in fees, fines, and assessments
  • Probation may be ordered
  • Mandatory treatment and substance abuse assessment
  • Possible forfeiture of your watercraft
  • Suspension of your operating privileges

Open Container on a Boat


Can You Have an Open Container on a Boat or Motorized Watercraft?

Arizona’s open container law is found at ARS § 4-251. This law prohibits people from having open containers of alcohol within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. However, there are exceptions to this rule for passengers in limousines, taxis, and tour buses.

For watercraft, passengers are allowed to have open containers, but the operators cannot. If you are convicted of having an open container of alcohol while operating a motorized watercraft, you can be convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


Defenses to an OUI or BUI

If you have been charged with an OUI or BUI involving alcohol, marijuana, or another drug, your attorney will carefully review the evidence to identify potential defenses.

Some of the following defenses might be available, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case:

  • No reasonable suspicion to stop your boat or watercraft
  • SFSTs were administered improperly
  • No probable cause to arrest you
  • A breathalyzer test was administered incorrectly
  • The breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated or certified
  • Blood test results were inaccurate
  • Chain of custody problems

Your Phoenix DUI attorney will talk to you about the best defenses to raise in your case. Depending on the facts and circumstances, your attorney might secure a favorable plea agreement to reduce charges or win an outright dismissal of the charges against you.


Get Help From an Experienced OUI Defense Lawyer

When you are facing an OUI charge, you should get legal help as soon as possible. Any criminal conviction on your record can result in ongoing consequences in your life long after you have completed your sentence.

If you are convicted of a felony aggravated OUI, the ongoing consequences will be even more severe. Many people with felonies struggle with finding jobs, being approved for leases, and obtaining credit.

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Shah Law Firm might increase your chances of securing a more favorable outcome. Attorney Arja Shah is highly experienced and has amassed a strong record of success for her clients. She understands how to build a strong defense and will fight for your rights.

Contact the Shah Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (602) 560-7408.

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