Phoenix is surrounded by scenic desert landscape and lakes, attracting thousands of visitors each year for boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming, camping and other recreational activities. Lake Pleasant is just north of Sun City and West Phoenix and offers marina facilities, campgrounds and an RV area. Saguaro Lake is just to the northeast of Phoenix and Scottsdale and is surrounded by magnificent canyon walls, offers boat rentals, picnic facilities and a restaurant. Heading northeast of Mesa and Apache Junction is Canyon Lake, which boasts amazing views and hiking trails along with excellent boating conditions. Further north along the Apache Trail is Apache Lake, surrounded by the Superstition Wilderness and offering some of the most picturesque views in Arizona. Lying above Apache Lake, and also the furthest lake from the Phoenix area is Roosevelt Lake, and is also one of the largest lakes in the area. Other popular Phoenix area lakes are Bartlett Lake and Horseshoe Lake, both offering excellent boating, fishing and beautiful scenery.
Because these lakes are such popular destinations for boaters, there is an increased likelihood of impairment in these areas, and as such, they are patrolled by Maricopa County Sheriff's Lake Patrol Division, Arizona Game and Fish, and other police agencies, which enforce alcohol and other related violations. Some of the most common violations on the lakes are OUI related charges, or operating a motorized watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. OUI charges and penalties are almost identical to DUI charges and are taken very seriously in the State of Arizona. Individuals will be charged with a regular OUI if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or more within two hours of operating the boat (or 0.04 or more if it is a commercial motorized watercraft). The penalties, upon conviction, can include no less than ten days in jail (may be suspended for a first violation upon successful completion of alcohol/drug screening and treatment program), $250 fine, community work service, $1000 in assessment fees, alcohol and/or drug screening and classes, and a criminal record. Subsequent OUI violations will result in increased exposure to jail time, fees/fines and other penalties. Additionally, if you are charged with Extreme OUI (BAC greater than 0.15 but less than 0.20) or Super Extreme OUI (BAC of 0.20 or more), the penalties become harsher, including the possibility of increased jail time and higher fees/fines. OUI charges are typically classified as misdemeanors but under certain circumstances, they can be charged as a felony, or Aggravated OUI charge. Some factors that could lead to felony charges include, 1) Third OUI within an 84-month period, and 2) Operating the boat while a person under 15 years of age is on board, and the driver recklessly endangers the minor child with a substantial risk of injury. The penalties will depend upon several factors, including BAC levels, prior OUI history, and other 'aggravating circumstances' such as boating accidents involving injuries.
If you have been ticketed for OUI or any other alcohol or drug related violation while boating, contact an experienced OUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer for a free evaluation of your case. Mr. Buckallew has represented numerous individuals in OUI, DUI and other alcohol related violations over the course of his career and has a proven track record of achieving successful resolution in countless cases over the years. The Firm represents individuals in courts throughout Maricopa County, including Phoenix, Mesa, Apache Junction, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, and other surrounding cities.
**This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact the Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your case.