Should You Agree to Perform Field Sobriety Tests on a Boat?

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Jul 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

During the warm weather months, many people in Arizona will flock to the lakes around our state.  Visitors to the lakes often trail boats, jet skis and Sea Doos to enjoy their days on the water.  Unfortunately, many individuals also choose to consume alcohol while operating their boats and place themselves at risk of being arrested for a boating DUI.

Because of the need to ensure the safety of people who visit the lakes in Arizona as well as the dangers caused by consuming alcohol while operating a boat, police are constantly on the lookout for people who might be impaired while operating a motorized watercraft.  Impairment may be suspected after an individual is contacted at a checkpoint, observed committing a moving violation or operating a boat in an unsafe manner.  

Once someone is stopped on the lakes by police, officers will look for signs of alcohol consumption similar to that in an automobile.  This might include slurred speech, an odor of intoxicating beverage, red and blood shot eyes and poor balance.  To further their boating DUI investigation and potentially gather more evidence, police will ask you to participate in the standard field sobriety tests.

Field Sobriety Testing and Boating DUI's:

Field Sobriety Tests, including Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn test and the One Leg Stand were developed through studies sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assist officers in DUI investigations to determine whether a driver might be impaired by alcohol.  Other tests routinely employed by officers include the finger count, finger to nose and Rhomberg Modified exam.  Except for the nystagmus, or better known as the eye test (which aims to detect possible neurological impairment by the involuntary jerking of the eyes), the field sobriety tests are designed to make someone divide their attention and perform both physical and mental tasks at the same time.  This is because people must perform a variety of tasks when driving a car such as maintaining. safe speed, obeying traffic control signals, keeping within one lane, using signals and reacting to roadway events.

Some of the limitations concerning the field sobriety tests rests with how and where they are administered.  Specifically, the field tests should be given in a safe place, away from moving vehicles and on a flat level surface.  People who are over 62 years of age, who are overweight by 50 or more pounds or who suffer from physical difficulties are not good candidates for these field sobriety tests.

Obviously, administering a field sobriety tests on a boat during a boating DUI investigation presents many issues which could be used to defend against a boating DUI charge.  Specifically, a boat could never be made stationary.  Consequently, the rocking caused by a boat sitting in the water will cause balance difficulties regardless of whether someone has consumed or is impaired by alcohol.  Therefore, it will be impossible to determine whether any errors made during performance of the field testing is due to alcohol impairment or alternatively, difficulty in balancing oneself on a rocking boat. Because of this, the reliability of an officer's conclusions following administration of field sobriety tests on a boat can be attaked very easily.  Moreover, a person suspected of a boating DUI should not agree to perform field tests on a vessel as the results obtained by an officer will not be credible.

CALL (480) 833-8613 TO GET HELP NOW

Arizona treats  boating DUI very seriously and convictions carry significant fines, jail time and required alcohol education.  If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a Boating DUI offense in Arizona, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified DUI attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your driver's license. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented people charged with DUI while boating on Canyon, Roosevelt, Saguaro and Lake Pleasant over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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