Understanding Arizona Boating DUI Laws
Boating DUI laws are both similar and dissimilar to traditional driving DUI laws. Like a traditional driving DUI, police officers have to have reasonable suspicion to stop a boat and probable cause to arrest someone for a DUI. When it comes to reasonable suspicion some of the more common reasons we see boats getting pulled over is for creating a wake in a no wake zone, and riding on the bow or transom of a boat. It is important to note, these infractions are not indicative of whether someone's ability to operate a boat is impaired. That said, stopping someone for reasonable suspicion is an extremely low standard. During holiday weekends in Havasu, police use these smaller offenses as pretexts for investigating DUIs. It's a numbers game for them. The more people they stop, the more likely they will be able to arrest for a boating DUI.
After a person is stopped, the officer must establish probable cause to arrest. Probable cause for boating DUIs is established based on what the officer observes, admission to consuming alcohol, odor of alcohol, and performance on field sobriety tests. This is where it pays to have an experienced attorney. Challenging probable cause is where most of our cases are won. If we establish that the officer lacked probable cause, we can file a motion to have the blood or breath analysis in your case suppressed. Suppressed means the Prosecutor's Office will not be able to introduce it at trial. Without being able to introduce this critical evidence, the Prosecutor no longer has a case and your case will need to be dismissed.
Consequences of a Boating DUI
Unlike a driving DUI, boating DUI's do not have the same blood alcohol levels. If a person is operating a boat with a blood alcohol content greater than a .08, they will be charged with a boating DUI. Boating DUIs do not have an extreme DUI or a super extreme. With that said, occasionally the Prosecutors office will try to implement sentencing ranges consistent with a driving DUI if a person has a high blood alcohol content. With all cases, our desired outcome is a complete dismissal. For the cases where we are unable to have charges dismissed, we switch gears and negotiate the least amount of consequences. When a client has a higher blood alcohol content, we need to aggressively negotiate the minimum consequences and prevent the Prosecutor from asking for an enhanced penalty that would be consistent with a driving DUI.
Do You Live In Another State?
If you've been arrested in Lake Havasu City and you live in another State, we cannot emphasize how important it is to hire an attorney. Lake Havasu Court has penalties unlike any other court in Arizona, and very different than most other courts throughout the United States. If you live out of State our lawyers might be able to resolve your case without you having to attend. It is extremely important to understand, Lake Havasu does not offer home detention in lieu of a jail sentence. If the Lake Havasu judge sentences a person to jail, they will not take into consideration whether you live in another state or that you will lose your job. This is why it is imperative that you hire a lawyer to fight your case. Without fighting the legal aspects of your case, you will be unable to have the charges or consequences reduced.