There is an alarming increase in the number of people being charged with boating DUI, also known as OUI (operating or in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft while intoxicated) in Arizona. What is just as troubling is the lack of evidence that has been observed in many police reports for those people charged with OUI. For example, many people are being charged with OUI based upon field sobriety tests performed on a swaying boat giving them no chance to pass. These types of cases have been observed at:
- Lake Pleasant
- Bartlett Lake
- Saguaro Lake
- Lake Havasu
The Arizona State legislature has passed several changes to the boating DUI statute. Those changes will take effect in the near future. However, the current version of the law can be found in A.R.S. 5-395. Under the current law, before a person can be convicted of the crime of OUI (boating DUI), the prosecutor must prove the person operated or was in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft that was underway within this state under any of the following circumstances:
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or drug, if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.
- If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of operating or being in actual physical control of the motorized watercraft and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while operating or being in actual physical control of the motorized watercraft.
- While there is any drug as defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.
- If the motorized watercraft is a commercial motorized watercraft and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.
Possible Boating OUI Defenses
Boating OUI cases have unique challenges and require specialized training to properly defend. Here are some of the defenses that may be used in boating cases:
- Illegal search and seizure violating the Fourth Amendment;
- Field sobriety tests performed on wet, slippery and unstable surfaces (boats);
- Falsely high blood or breath test results causing a person to be wrongfully charged with OUI, extreme OUI or super extreme OUI;
- Detention of boaters without reasonable suspicion;
- Use of outdated and uncalibrated breath testing machines.
The above list is merely a short sample of some of the potential defenses that may be used in an OUI case.
For Additional Information:
Lawrence Koplow is a former DUI and Vehicular crimes prosecutor. He has extensive experience with boating DUI (OUI) cases and defenses. Lawrence uses what he learned as a prosecutor to defend people charged with boating OUI charges. This unique experience helps him obtain the best possible results for his clients.
Contact Lawrence Koplow online or call him at his office at (602) 494-3444. Mr. Koplow and his firm will be available to help you solve your legal problems.