Arizona Boating DUI Lawyers

Arizona is home to many beautiful lakes that welcome thousands of boaters each year. If you take a boat out on the water, however, you could get stopped by State Boat Patrol for an alleged legal violation. If there is reasonable suspicion, law enforcement may then place you under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI). 

This crime is taken just as seriously as driving under the influence in Arizona. If you or someone you love has been arrested for boating under the influence in Arizona, contact Corso Law Group for a free case consultation. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys can provide aggressive advocacy and a strong support system throughout the legal process.

Why Our Arizona Boating DUI Lawyers Are Right for Your Case

  • Our founding attorney, Christopher Corso, is a former Maricopa County Supervising Prosecutor. He understands how the other side of a criminal case operates.
  • Our law firm has the resources, background and personnel to successfully protect the rights of clients facing any kind of legal trouble, including boating under the influence.
  • We have a reputation for excellence and offer personalized services to each client. We are available and just a phone call away 24/7.

What Is a Boating DUI in Arizona?

You may know that driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is against the law in all 50 states. It may surprise you, however, to learn that it is also against the law to operate a boat while impaired or intoxicated in Arizona. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 5-395 makes it unlawful to operate or be in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft that is underway while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug and/or a vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance.

Boating under the influence – also referred to as operating under the influence or OUI – is presumed if the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more within two hours of operating or being in actual physical control of the watercraft if the BAC results from alcohol consumed before or while operating the boat. If any drug or drug metabolite is found in the operator’s body, this will also lead to a BUI charge. If the boat is a commercial watercraft, the legal BAC limit is reduced to 0.04 percent.

What Are the Penalties?

It is important to understand the potential penalties that are associated with your criminal charge in Arizona. Boating under the influence is a serious crime that can have life-changing consequences. The severity of the sentence will depend on the type of charge, your criminal history and whether there are aggravating factors, such as a BUI accident. 

You could face multiple types of BUI charges in Arizona depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense. The penalties and consequences depend on the classification of the crime. With a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, it is a standard BUI. If the BAC is at a level of 0.15 percent or higher, it is an extreme BUI. With a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher, it is a super extreme BUI.  

In general, a first-offense BUI is charged as a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable with a minimum of 10 days in jail, $1,250 in fines, and a drug and alcohol education course. For an extreme BUI, the penalties are enhanced to a minimum of 30 days in jail and fines of up to $2,500. A super extreme BUI is punishable with 45 days in jail and a minimum of $2,750 in fines and fees. The sentence can increase dramatically for second- and third-offense BUIs.

What Must Be Proven to Convict Someone of a Boating DUI?

If you are arrested for BUI in Arizona (and do not plead guilty or no contest), the prosecution will have the burden of proof during your criminal trial. The prosecutor must show that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. The elements of boating under the influence that must be proven are:

  • Operation or actual physical control: there must be evidence that you were operating or in actual physical control of the boat within two hours of being intoxicated. Actual physical control can mean even while the boat is idling or turned off and anchored.
  • Motorized watercraft: under state law, the defendant must have been in control of a motorized watercraft, meaning one that is propelled by machinery, whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion. This can include a boat, jet ski or other watercraft.
  • Under the influence of an intoxicating substance: the evidence must show that you were under the influence of any drug, alcohol or combination of the two.

An intoxicating substance can include alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, a prescription medication if you do not have a valid prescription and other substances that could impair a boater’s ability to control the vessel. If you get arrested for a boating DUI, do not admit to having consumed or used any substances. Use your right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.

Possible Defenses to Boating DUI Charges

If you are facing BUI charges in Arizona, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Facing these charges alone could lead to mistakes, a poor case outcome and life-changing criminal penalties. Working with an attorney can help you build a strong defense and improve the odds of a positive case result. Potential defenses include:

  • No probable cause for the stop
  • No evidence of intoxication or impairment
  • Not in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft
  • Unreliable field sobriety or BAC test results
  • Boat Patrol Officer misconduct
  • Violated constitutional or Miranda rights
  • Not the officer’s jurisdiction

When fighting criminal charges for a BUI, you do not have to prove that you are innocent; you only need to show that the prosecutor has not met the burden of proof. A criminal defense lawyer can challenge the prosecutor’s case against you by looking for weaknesses or holes in their evidence and arguments.

Contact an Arizona Boating DUI Defense Lawyer Today

If you are facing criminal charges for boating under the influence in Arizona, do not hesitate to contact Corso Law Group for a free and confidential case consultation. When you call us at (480) 471-4616, a boating DUI attorney will listen to the details of your case and give you advice that you can trust. If we accept you as a client, we can immediately go to work on representing you and resolving your criminal case. Find out more about how we can help you by contacting us anytime, 24/7.

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