In this short video, David Michael Cantor explains the punishments for Operating a Boat while Intoxicated in Arizona:
Recreational boating on Arizona’s many lakes and streams is a favorite pastime of residents and visitors to the Grand Canyon State. On weekends, and even during the week, hundreds of motorboats, sailboats and personal watercraft take to the waters of Arizona for fishing, sightseeing or simply relaxing with friends and family. However, too often, those relaxing days on the water include consumption of alcohol that leads to unjustified arrest of a boat driver or passenger. Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) 5-395 makes it unlawful for any person to operate or be in physical control of a motorized watercraft underway in Arizona waters while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to A.R.S. 5-395, any person whose blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher may be charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) if they are operating a motorized watercraft. In A.R.S. 5-301, motorized watercraft is defined as “any watercraft propelled by machinery whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion.” This wording allows operators of sailboats using sails rather than engines to be in violation of the statute. In addition, the statute states that anyone whose blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher within two hours of operating a motorized watercraft, and who evidence showed consumed the alcohol either before or during the operation of the motorized watercraft, may be charged with OUI. A personal watercraft would be one of the following: Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, or Wave Runner.
For those operating commercial watercraft, the blood alcohol content limits are much lower. Anyone operating a commercial watercraft whose blood alcohol content is 0.04 percent or higher may be charged with an OUI. A.R.S. 5-301 defines a commercial watercraft as any motorized watercraft carrying passengers or property where an owner, charterer, operator or agent is paid for the service. Therefore, charter boat captains with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or higher may be charged with an OUI, even if the blood alcohol test is performed within two hours after they were operating the charter boat.
A.R.S. 5-397 provides for added penalties if the operator of a motorized watercraft has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher. Operators with a blood alcohol content over 0.15 percent but less than 0.20 percent could be convicted of Extreme OUI, while those with a blood alcohol content over 0.20 percent could be charged with Super Extreme OUI. If evidence shows that the operator was drinking alcohol before or during operation of the vehicle, they may be charged with Extreme or Super Extreme OUI as much as two hours after operating the watercraft, depending on the circumstances.
If you are convicted for violating A.R.S. 5-301 (an OUI below .15 BAC), the penalties include:
- A base fine, surcharges and assessments totaling: $1,537
- Jail Cost for one day: $130
- Alcohol Screening: $50
- 16 – 36 Alcohol Classes: $135 – $585 total
For first time offenders, a judge may suspend any imposed sentence if the offender agrees to attend court ordered drug or alcohol screening, education or treatment program.
If someone is convicted of a second violation within 84-months of the first conviction, penalties include:
- 90 days in jail with the possibility of 60 days suspended if Alcohol classes are completed. Minimum jail cost: $2,500
- Alcohol Screening: $50
- 36 Alcohol Classes: $585
- Fines, Surcharges, and Assessments: $3,500
- 30 hours of Community Service
If the offender agrees to attend a drug or alcohol screening, education or treatment program, a judge may suspend all but thirty days of the jail sentence.
Penalties for First Time Extreme OUI and First Time Super Extreme OUI include:
- Extreme OUI: No less than 30 consecutive days in jail with no possibility of parole or suspension until the entire sentence has been served
- Super Extreme OUI: No less than 45 consecutive days in jail with no possibility of parole or suspension until the entire sentence has been served;
- 30 days in jail: $2,500
- DUI Fines: $2,787
- Alcohol Screening: $50
- Up to 36 hours of alcohol education classes: $585
A second violation within 84 months increases the jail time for Extreme OUI to 120 days in jail, 60 of which must be served consecutively and 180 days in jail for Super Extreme OUI, 90 of which must be serviced consecutively. Fines double for both offenses as well upon additional convictions.
A.R.S. 5-396 states that the operator of a motorized watercraft is guilty of aggravated OUI if:
- They violate A.R.S. 5-395 three or more times within an 84-month period and are subsequently convicted;
- A person under the age of 15 is aboard the watercraft.
Penalties for Aggravated OUI include:
- For those with two or more convictions, a jail term of no less than four months in prison, with no possibility of probation, pardon or suspension until the entire sentence is served;
- For those with three or more convictions, a jail term of no less than eight months, with no possibility of probation, pardon or suspension until the entire sentence is served;
- For those convicted of first time Aggravated OUI due to the age of a passenger, no less than ten days in jail (more jail time if it’s Extreme or Super Extreme) with no possibility of probation, pardon or suspension until the entire sentence is served.
If you need more information on Arizona’s OUI or Boating DUI laws, or would like to schedule a Free Case Consultation please give us a call at (602) 737-2812. Please take time to review our DUI case victories and you’ll see the great results we’ve gotten for our clients.