There is no doubt that many boats out on the water Labor Day weekend had ice chests full of alcoholic beverages. Unlike a land vehicle, drinking alcoholic beverages is allowed on boats by the passengers; however, drivers of the boats must maintain sobriety to safely guide their vessel. Arizona is tough on any type of impaired driving, including boating DUIs or operating under the influence (OUI). If you were out on Lake Havasu, Lake Pleasant, Lake Powell or Saguaro Lake over Labor Day weekend and received a boating DUI, make sure you are ready to build a good defense in your case.
Extra DUI and OUI Patrols for Labor Day Weekend
Every year, hundreds of people in Arizona end up with a DUI or OUI over Labor Day weekend. It is the last long weekend of the summer before kids, teens and young adults go back to school and life gets a little busier for most people. All around Arizona there were events and gatherings where alcohol was served Labor Day weekend and law enforcement was out to catch anyone who was behind the wheel, whether it was a car, motorcycle or boat.
Arizona uses checkpoints and saturation points to scan the roads for impaired drivers on busy holiday weekends. They also have more patrols on the lakes around the area. It is not just city police that patrol the lakes. While you will see Lake Havasu City police out on the lake, you will also see Maricopa County Sheriff patrols out on Lake Pleasant. Arizona Fish & Game and State Park departments are also looking for impaired drivers on the lakes, and so does the coast guard. Driving any vehicle with alcohol or drugs in your system can land you in jail and facing a misdemeanor or even a felony, depending on the circumstances.
What You are Facing with an OUI
While an OUI has less penalties than a DUI, it still can create havoc in your life. Most OUIs are a misdemeanor and there are mandatory jail sentences based on your blood alcohol content, or BAC—the higher the percentage, the more jail time and penalties you will face. Plus, if you have previous OUIs, a BAC of .20% or higher, or if a minor was on board your boat, you may have been charged with an aggravated or extreme OUI, which can be a felony.
Defenses for OUIs
At this point, you are only charged with a crime. You still have a chance to fight your OUI and have a favorable outcome in your case if you have an experienced DUI attorney. Our team at Matthew Lopez Law specializes in all types of DUIs and OUIs in Arizona, giving you an opportunity to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Hiring a qualified attorney is your first step. You need someone on your side that knows Arizona OUI law inside and out. There are many details during an arrest that must be done by the book or charges can be dismissed. Some of the possible defenses in an OUI case can include:
- Inaccurate breath or other types of BAC testing
- You did not have physical control of the vessel
- You were asked to perform a field sobriety test and refused (this is not a valid reason for arrest)
- There was no reasonable suspicion to stop
- You were denied the right to counsel
- You were not read your Miranda rights
OUIs are different than DUIs when it comes to BAC testing. If you refuse a breathalyzer or BAC testing when driving a motor vehicle, you automatically lose your driver’s license for a year. The same is not true when boating. You can face a civil fine, but they cannot take away your driving privileges for refusing to take a BAC test.
There are many different aspects of your arrest that can impact the outcome of your case. Never assume that you will be found guilty when you may have the law on your side. If you hire one of our attorneys at Matthew Lopez Law to handle your case, we will take the time to investigate the details and look for any facts that could help get your charges reduced or dismissed completely. It is worth the effort to keep a misdemeanor or felony off your record and avoid possible jail time that can impact your life.
If your spent Labor Day weekend boating on Lake Havasu, Lake Pleasant or any of the other beautiful lakes in Arizona, and you were arrested for a boating DUI, call us at Matthew Lopez Law. We have offices in Apache Junction, Tempe and Lake Havasu City for your convenience. Just contact the location nearest you to schedule a free consultation with one of our legal team members to discuss your case.