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Arizona Boating DUI / OUI – DUI on Boat – DWI at the Lake

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Arizona Boating DUI / OUI Laws

 In Arizona, it is a crime to operate a boat on any body of water while intoxicated with any drug or alcohol.

There are three names for this specific conviction, including a boating OUI, a BUI, or a boating DUI.

Many of the consequences for these charges are similar to those for a standard DUI while in a car. The differences are that you are in control of a watercraft rather than a vehicle. You must schedule a consultation with a defense attorney who can explain the options you have after an arrest.

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Arizona’s Boating DUI / OUI Laws and Penalties

What is a Considered a Watercraft in Arizona?

You must understand how Arizona defines a watercraft to know your legal rights after getting a DUI on a boat. ARS 5-395 provides the law that covers these terms.

Arizona Boating DUI / OUI under ARS 5-395

Under this statute, to receive a boating OUI or DUI, you must have physical control over a motorized watercraft. The police officers have to prove that you are under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or any prescription medication. Even slight impairment counts towards this crime.

A motorized watercraft under ARS 5-395 is one “propelled by machinery.” A defense attorney will be on your side when the government tries to find a way to make your boat fit the bill. Remember, however, the machinery in place does not have to be the primary method behind moving the watercraft.

Open Container Laws on a Boat

Arizona has specific laws in place to determine if you can have an open container of alcohol while on a boat. The statutes are under ARS 4-251.

Any passenger on your boat can have an open container of alcohol. If you are the operator of the watercraft, however, you will face a class two misdemeanor.

Penalties for a Regular OUI or DUI at the Lake

First-Time Offenses

A first-time offense regarding a boating DUI, OUI, or BUI carries with it the lightest consequences. These are class one misdemeanors, including:

  • 10 days to 6 months in jail
  • Possible suspension of up to 9 days of jail with substance abuse treatment
  • Fines ranging from $1,250 to $2,500
  • Additional substance abuse classes
  • Probation

Second-Time Offenses

The conviction is on your record for seven years for a regular OUI or DUI at the lake. A second offense will carry harsher consequences within that timeframe, though it is still a class one misdemeanor.

  • 90 days to 6 months in jail, including 30 consecutive days
  • Suspension of up to 60 days with substance abuse treatment
  • Fines of up to $3,000
  • 30 hours of community service
  • Additional substance abuse treatment
  • Probation

Third-Time Offenses

Third-time OUI offenses carry different penalties within the seven-year timeframe mentioned above. This conviction is a class four felony with the following consequences.

  • Fines of at least $4,000
  • Minimum of 4 months in prison
  • Drug and alcohol screenings
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Probation
  • Possible loss of boating license
  • Possible forfeiture of watercraft


Penalties for an Aggravated Boating DUI or OUI

An aggravated DUI on a boat, or OUI, can occur after three previous charges within 84 months. These crimes also happen when there is a passenger under 15 years old on the watercraft or if you caused death or injury.

You must note that after death or injury, you could face manslaughter charges as well. Penalties for only an aggravated boating OUI or DUI can come as a first-offense felony or fourth-offense misdemeanor.

First-Offense Felonies

The judge may charge you with a first-offense felony after three previous misdemeanor charges. Jail sentencing for this conviction is typically anywhere from four months to one year of incarceration.

Fourth-Offense Misdemeanors

The judge may choose to give you a fourth misdemeanor instead of a felony. Standard jail sentencing is harsher, including anywhere from eight months to two years of incarceration.

Penalties for an Extreme Boating OUI or DUI

An extreme DUI on a boat is possible when your blood alcohol concentration is anywhere from 0.15% to 0.199%. Penalties for each offense are below:

First-Time Offenses

A first-time offense of an extreme watercraft DUI is a class one misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • 30 days to 6 months in jail
  • Fines up to $2,500
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse treatment

Second-Time Offenses

The same seven-year timeframe applies to extreme DUIs while on a boat. Second-time offenses are still class one misdemeanors with harsher consequences.

  • 120 days to 6 months in jail
  • 60 days in jail served consecutively
  • Fines up to $3,250
  • 30 hours of community service
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse treatment

Third-Time Offenses

Third-time offenses of an extreme DUI or OUI are aggravated convictions. These crimes are typically class four felonies with the following penalties.

  • At least 4 months in jail
  • Fines of at least $4,000
  • Substance abuse treatments
  • Probation
  • Forfeiture of your boat
  • Suspension of your boating licensure

Super Extreme Boating DUI and OUI Charges

A super extreme boating OUI or DUI occurs when your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.20%. First-time offenses are still misdemeanors, but they are some of the harshest in Arizona.

First-Time Offenses

As mentioned, a first-time super extreme DUI conviction is a class one misdemeanor. Strict penalties include:

  • 45 days to 6 months in jail
  • Fines of at least $2,750
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Probation

Second-Time Offenses

Second-time offenses remain a class one misdemeanor even with a super extreme conviction. Penalties go up to:

  • 6 months of jail with at least 90 consecutive days
  • Fines of at least $3,750
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Probation

Third-Time Offenses

The strictest law of all boating DUIs is a third-time offense of a super extreme BUI. These are class four felonies with harsh penalties, like those below.

  • At least 4 months in prison
  • At least $4,000 in fines
  • Probation
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Forfeiture of watercraft
  • Suspension of boating licensures

What are the Possible Defenses for Boating OUIs and DUIs?

A defense attorney is ready to review all evidence to find a possible defense for your needs. These can include:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause prior to the stop or arrest
  • Inaccurate reports made by the police officers
  • Inaccurate blood test and breathalyzer results
  • No physical control of the boat
  • Denial of right to a lawyer

Contact your CHM Law Defense Team Today

Best Phoenix Boating DUI Lawyer, Boating OUI, DUI on a Boat AttorneyContact a Phoenix OUI lawyer immediately after you receive a DUI on a boat under any of the above circumstances. Convictions of this nature can affect you for the rest of your life.

Working with a legal team you can trust may secure a better outcome, including even a DUI dismissal of the charge. We are available now to help fight your OUI charges to potentially get your charges reduced to a simple misdemeanor, or even your DUI on water charge even dismissed!

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