31 Aug Are Unfenced Pools Illegal in Arizona?
The Arizona heat makes owning a pool an excellent idea. But whether you are moving into a house with an old swimming pool or building the pool of your dreams, securing it needs to be a priority.
In the state of Arizona, unfenced pools are illegal. There are both state and county laws about what kind of fence your pool needs to have. If you break these laws or ignore them, and an accident happens in your pool, you could be held liable.
Here’s how to make sure you spend your summer enjoying your pool instead of navigating a complicated court system.
What Are the Requirements for Pool Fences in Arizona?
It is illegal to have an unfenced pool in Arizona. If you own a home with an outdoor pool, you must have a fence around it that meets state requirements. However, many counties have additional regulations that you must follow—if your fence does not comply with county restrictions, you may be subject to additional fines.
Both the state of Arizona and Maricopa County defines a pool as a contained (non-natural) body of water that is used by humans for swimming and is at least 18 inches deep and/or 8 feet wide at any point. All pools that meet this definition must be enclosed, regardless of whether they are above or below ground.
Arizona State Pool Requirements
- The pool must be entirely enclosed by a wall, fence, or other barrier that is at least 5 feet high.
- The fence must have no openings that a spherical object 4 inches across can fit through.
- Fence spaces or chain links must not measure more than 1⅓ inches.
- Gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
- Gate doors must swing away from the pool.
- Any doors or windows that enter the pool area must be latched.
- Latches must be a minimum of 54 inches above the ground or 5 inches below the top of the fence.
- Latches must be on the inside (poolside) of the fence or be secured by a padlock or similar device.
- The fence may not have any exterior handholds or other openings that could be used to climb over it.
- All parts of the enclosure must be a minimum of 20 inches away from the edge of the pool.
Additional Maricopa County Requirements
- All pools must meet state enclosure requirements
- Pools cannot be in a front yard.
- Pools must be a minimum of 3 feet away from property lines.
State Requirements vs. County Laws
It can be confusing to comply with both state and county laws. In court, the state law will often be held in higher regard.
However, that does not mean the municipal laws can be disregarded. Cities and counties have the right to ban certain activities (like setting off fireworks) and to set rules for new builds, such as how tall buildings can be, and whether or not pools need fences. Breaking municipal laws often results in a fine.
Why Do I Need a Fence Around My Pool?
By itself, an unfenced pool is only a petty offense. The most you will face is a small fine, which can be waived if you promise to build your fence and take a pool safety class. However, if there is an accident in your unfenced pool, you could be facing criminal charges.
The reason that fences or barriers are required is because of the possibility of drowning and other dangers that come with deep water. Children are in particular danger, but even teenagers and reckless adults are at risk. Having an open pool means anyone can take a swim, and anyone can drown.
Accidents in unfenced pools can lead to more serious charges, from child endangerment to manslaughter or negligent homicide.
The penalty for child endangerment is a class 6 felony, with sentences from 4 months up to 5 years in prison, plus fees and fines.
Manslaughter and negligent homicide are class 2 and 4 respectively. Convictions for these crimes could land you anywhere from 1 to 12 years in prison, along with obligatory fines and fees.
If You Are Facing Felony Charges, You Need an Excellent Lawyer
When accidents happen, you need a certified criminal defense attorney with a successful track record on your side. You need someone who understands the Arizona justice system, its felony charges, and the court process. You also need a lawyer who cares about your case and who treats you with respect.
Todd Coolidge could be the difference between spending time in prison or walking free. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today.