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Roads Aren’t the Only Place You Can Be Charged with a DUI

We know that the Arizona Highway Patrol has upped its game in terms of blanketing the state with DUI checkpoints. Another agency that has done the same thing is the Arizona Game and Fish Department. In mid-July alone, the Game and Fish Department teamed with multiple law agencies to patrol sections of the Colorado River – looking for boaters and other watercraft operators who were using alcohol or drugs.

Penalties for Operating Boats & Other Watercraft Under the Influence

First off, it’s important to note that, just as with DUIs, you do not have to take a field sobriety test when faced with an OUI. Most of the strict laws and penalties in effect for driving under the influence also apply to drinking while operating a boat, jetski or other watercraft on lakes, waterways, and rivers. The only difference is the name of the charge. Rather than facing a DUI, anyone caught under the influence while operating watercraft will be charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI). If your blood alcohol content is found to be .08 or higher, you’ll likely be charged with OUI. The higher your blood alcohol content, the tougher the consequences. Penalties for a first OUI conviction carry potential jail time – six (6) months maximum – and fines totaling over $2,000. If you’re charged with Extreme OUI – a blood alcohol content of 0.15% and higher – brings with it a mandatory 30-day stay in jail and fines of up to $2,500.

Common Defenses for OUI

There are a few common defenses that can have your OUI charges dismissed.

  • No Actual Physical Control – for example, if you pull off the main waterway to sleep it off and the engine is still running, you’re not actually in physical control of the vessel.
  • No Probable Cause for Arrest – if the officer has no probable cause for thinking you’re under the influence, the arrest will typically be invalidated.
  • Inaccuracy of Breath Testing Device – as we noted in a previous blog, breathalyzers and other testing procedures are prone to produce erroneous results.
  • Denying Your Right to Counsel – If you’re arrested for OUI, law enforcement must give you a phone as soon as reasonably possible when you request to speak with an attorney. If your request is ignored, your case may be dropped.

Charged with DUI/OUI? Call The Oswalt Law Group

If you’ve been charged with DUI or OUI, rest assured that you do have rights. The key to understanding the breadth of those rights is to contact a skilled lawyer at The Oswalt Law Group ASAP. Call us at (602) 225-2222 for a free review of your case.

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