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OUI Cases in Lake Havasu and Bullhead City

Posted by Shawn Hamp | May 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

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What You Should Know About Boating While Intoxicated Arrests In Arizona.

An OUI is committed while operating a boat or a personal watercraft while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.  In many ways it is legally similar to committing a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) while driving an automobile.  Both penalties, consequences and legal defenses are nearly the same.

 

What Is An OUI?

OUI is an acronym for “Operating Under the Influence”.  In Arizona OUIs refers to operating a motorized watercraft (boat or personal watercraft) under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

OUI is defined under A.R.S. 5-395.

5-395. Operating or in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft while under the influence; violation; classification; definition

A. It is unlawful for any person to operate or be in actual physical control of a motorized watercraft that is underway within this state under any of the following circumstances:

1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.

2. 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.

3. While there is any drug as defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.

4. If the motorized watercraft is a commercial motorized watercraft and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.

Motorized watercraft includes jets skis and personal watercraft.

AZ Game and Fish Video “OUI Checkpoint: Boat Safe, Boat Smart, Boat Sober”. Source: YouTube

What is an Extreme or Super Extreme OUI?

An Extreme OUI is committed when an operator of a watercraft has a B.A.C. (blood or breath alcohol content) above a .150%, or a Super Extreme above a .200%.

What is an Aggravated OUI or a Felony OUI?

An Aggravated DUI is committed when an operator of a watercraft has a passenger under 15 years of age or when a person commits a third OUI within 7 years.  An Aggravated DUI is a felony offense in the State of Arizona.

What Are The Penalties For An OUI?

The punishments for OUI are nearly identical to those for DUIs.

Regular and Extreme DUIs are class 1 misdemeanors and have the following minimum punishments.

Regular OUI (08% or above below .150%):

  • Minimum (10) ten days jail;
  • $1,250 Minimum Fine;
  • May be ordered to perform community restitution (work service);
  • Be court-ordered to complete an alcohol or other drug screening and counseling.

Extreme OUI (.150% or above below .200%):

  • Minimum (30) thirty days jail;
  • $2,500 Minimum Fine;
  • May be ordered to perform community restitution (work service);
  • Be court-ordered to complete an alcohol or other drug screening and counseling.

Super Extreme OUI (above .200%):

  • Minimum (45) forty-five days jail;
  • $2,750 Minimum Fine;
  • May be court-ordered to perform community restitution;
  • Be court-ordered to complete an alcohol or other drug screening and counseling.

Aggravated (Felony) OUI:

  • An Aggravated OUI with a Minor is a Class 6 Felony – punishable up to 2 years prison.
  • An Aggravated OUI as a third OUI in 7 years is a Class 4 Felony – punishable up to 3.75 years prison.

Will I Loose My License For An OUI?

Unlike many states, including California.  Receiving an OUI conviction in Arizona does not result in losing driver's license privileges.

All OUI cases must still be reported to the Arizona Department of Transportation.  The records are compiled and forwarded to the State's Oversight Council On Driving or Operating Under The Influence Abatement Committee.

What Court Will My OUI Case Be In?

There are many police agencies that patrol the rivers and lakes in Mohave County due to the various legal and political jurisdictions that exist along the Colorado River.

These agencies include:

  • Arizona Game and Fish Department,
  • Arizona State Park Rangers
  • Mohave County Sheriff's Office
  • U.S. Park Rangers
  • Lake Havasu City Police Department
  • Bullhead City Police Department

As a result the cases can be heard in several different courts.

There are several courts in Arizona that preside over OUI cases.

Lake Havasu:

Lake Havasu Municipal and Lake Havasu Justice Court. (Areas Include: Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu Bridgewater Channel, Site 6 Launch Ramp).

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OUI cases in the Lake Havasu Bridgewater Chanel are usually handled in the Lake Havasu City Municipal Court.

Bullhead City:

Bullhead City Municipal Court and Bullhead City Justice Court. (Areas Include: Colorado River, Topcok Marsh).

Kingman:

Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court. (Areas include: Lake Mohave, Katherine's Landing).

Federal Court:

U.S. District Court of Arizona – Flagstaff and Kingman. (Areas Include: Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Katherine's Landing, Lake Mohave, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge).

What Legal Defenses Are There For OUI?

The defenses for OUI are very similar or nearly identical to the same defenses available in DUI cases.

Some of the most common OUI defenses include but not limited to the following:

  • No Impairment
  • Faulty or Improper Testing Methods
  • Inaccurate Scientific Test or Equipment
  • Margin of Error on Breath Testing Device
  • Improper Administration of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
  • Denial of Counsel
  • Involuntary Statements

If you are charged with an OUI, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you navigate your case.

About the Author

Shawn Hamp

President and lead counsel for the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp, P.C. (An Arizona Professional Corporation), Shawn Hamp has practiced law for more than 15 years with an emphasis in criminal law. An experienced trial attorney, Mr. Hamp has been lead counsel in hundreds of criminal trials and court...

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