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Articles Tagged with OUI Charges

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The weather is warming up in Phoenix which means surrounding lakes are filling up with valley residents looking for a place to cool down. Valley lakes are a popular place for residents to recreate and take part in water activities, including boating, jet skiing, fishing, paddle boarding, beach side barbecuing, hiking and just enjoying the scenery. A popular lake for east valley residents is Saguaro Lake which is just northeast of Mesa and easy to access from Scottsdale and Phoenix as well. If you are headed out to Saguaro Lake, situated in the Tonto National Forest, you will need to purchase a daily pass to display in your vehicle ($6) plus a watercraft use fee ($4) for each watercraft you are taking out on the lake. These passes are not sold at the lake so be sure to purchase them beforehand either online or at various retail outlets on your way out to the lake. Additionally, if you plan to fish, be sure to check out fishing license requirements before heading out to the lake as well.

Finally, if you plan to consume alcohol during your outing at the lake, always be sure to designate a sober driver for boats and other motorized watercraft as well as for the drive back home. A fun day at the lake can quickly turn sour if you are arrested for a boating DUI, or more specifically – an OUI (Operating Under the Influence). If you are arrested for OUI on Saguaro Lake, the arresting agency will likely be the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) – Lake Patrol Unit, and you will likely be cited into the North Mesa Justice Court (for misdemeanor OUI charges) or the Maricopa County Superior Court (for felony OUI charges). If you are facing OUI charges, they are treated very similar to a regular DUI, and it is imperative to seek competent legal counsel before making any decisions in your case.

Misdemeanor OUI Charges

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The 4th of July is a day for celebration involving many festivities, including watching fireworks, family BBQ's, camping, boating, parades, baseball games and other patriotic activities. Given that July 4th falls on a Friday this year, it is also a 3-day weekend for many and we wish all a very safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

As with many other holiday weekends, AZ Law Enforcement will be out in full force around the state with DUI checkpoints and increased patrol in heavy traveled areas of the state. If you plan to enjoy alcoholic beverages this weekend, be sure to plan in advance for a designated driver, a cab ride, or alternate means of transportation to keep yourself and other drivers safe this weekend.

In the event you are cited for a DUI over the 4th of July weekend – whether alcohol or drug related, or you receive an OUI while out boating on any of the many lakes surrounding the valley, or up north – the Firm is available to discuss the DUI/OUI court process, DUI penalties and most importantly – your legal options.

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According to recent news reports (CBS5), the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) will be ramping up their DUI patrols over Memorial Day Weekend in recreational areas around the valley. The Sheriff's office has been granted funding from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), AZ Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service, enabling the department to perform saturation patrols over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend – one of the busiest drinking weekends of the year. The patrols will target some of the most popular recreational areas surrounding the valley, including Canyon Lake, Bartlett Lake, Saguaro Lake, Apache Lake, Lake Pleasant, the Verde River, Lower Salt River, other county parks and the Tonto National Forest.

Many of the arrests made by the MCSO over the past year include 849 misdemeanor DUI arrests, 1,362 Underage Consumption / Minor in Possession arrests, 94 felony Aggravated DUI arrests and 230 OUI – operating a watercraft under the influence arrests.

If you are charged with any type of misdemeanor alcohol violation at any of the lakes surrounding the valley, you will most likely be ordered to appear in either the Hassayampa Justice Court in Surprise, AZ (Northwest valley lakes) or the North Mesa Justice Court in Mesa, AZ (Northeast valley lakes). If you are charged with a felony alcohol violation, then your case will likely be handled in the Maricopa County Superior Court if you were within the boundaries of Maricopa County.

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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.

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