Most Driving Under the Influence (DUI) stories start pretty much the same way, usually with something along the lines of, “I guess I was a little drunker than I thought when I hopped in my car…”
Not everyone’s DUI story is quite so ordinary.
For example, did you know that in some states you can get a DUI while riding a horse? Or even a lawnmower? Various states have a broad legal definition of driving, operating, and what is considered a motor vehicle.
The basic idea of a DUI is the same regardless of which mode of transportation you’re operating. At its core, this charge can be applied anytime you’re caught driving—or riding—something while you’re over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit.
In all likelihood, the people who got DUIs for these seemingly odd reasons were probably surprised to learn that what they were doing was illegal, and that these charges are in fact legit. But you don’t have to be. Keep reading to learn about some of the most uncommon ways people in the United State have landed DUI charges.
1. You can get a DUI on a riding lawnmower.
In July of 2015, a Pennsylvania man learned the hard way that climbing aboard your lawnmower while drunk can earn you the same charge as when you sit behind the wheel of a car. This particular individual already had three DUI charges on his record. When he was pulled over, he was driving down the highway with a case of beer. Upon testing, he was found to be almost three times over the legal limit.
2. You can get a DUI on a Zamboni.
When high school hockey game spectators saw a Zamboni driver trading his straight and order laps around the ice for zig-zags, they called the cops. Upon arrival at the January 2015 game, police questioned the driver, who had just been arrested for DUI a month prior. After investigation, they charged the drunk Zamboni operator stating that, even though he wasn’t driving on the road, anyone who operates any kind of vehicle in North Dakota while drunk can be arrested.
3. You can get a DUI on a motorized barstool.
Police in Newark, Ohio, had to deal with an exceptionally uncommon DUI concern in March of 2009. It all started when a city resident called the police after seeing someone zip down his street on a motorized bar stool. The driver, who said he had drank 15 beers before deciding to head home on his stool, wrecked while trying to make a U-turn. He was surprised when he received a DUI charge, but police quickly reminded him that, in Ohio, it’s illegal to operate any motor vehicle, with the exception of wheelchairs and mobility scooters, while under the influence.
4. You can get a DUI on an ATV.
When an Illinois man was in an ATV accident in November of 2013, he found himself facing not just a long recovery, but also a DUI charge. Cops from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office found the man lying under his ATV, which had overturned when he wrecked. The driver was taken to the hospital, where he recovered. When it was found that he was drunk at the time of the accident, he was slapped with DUI charges.
5. You can get a DUI on a motorized recliner.
It was a short ride for a drunk Minnesotan, who was about to begin his drive home from the bar when he quickly hit a parked car in October 2009. When police arrived at the scene, they found that the driver was not hurt. They also discovered that he was more than three times over the legal limit. Though the situation may seem ridiculous, the judge wasn’t laughing when she assigned the man 180 days of jail time and two years of probation.
6. You can get a DUI on a horse.
Does a horse count as a vehicle? A Kentucky man found out that, in his state, it does. He was riding home on one in April of 2015 when bystanders saw him and reported him drunk. When cops got there, the man ran away, but was later caught and charged with a DUI.
Whether riding a horse while drunk is illegal depends on the state you’re in—and, in some cases, the judge’s interpretation of the law.
However, this incident wasn’t the first of its kind. Back in 2011, two Texas men were charged with the same offense.
7. You can get a DUI on a tricycle.
Turns out, taking your tricycle home from the bar isn’t necessarily a safe bet. In October of 2008, an Oregon man faced DUI charges as a result of this very offense. Police were called when witnesses saw the man riding his tricycle down the wrong side of the street. When the cops performed sobriety tests, the man failed and was taken to jail.
8. You can get a DUI on a motorized cooler.
In June 2008, a New York man caught the attention of police when he was seen swerving down the sidewalk on a motorized cooler. The man, who did not have a license as a result of other DUI charges, refused to take a breathalyzer test. Residents were reportedly not too surprised when they heard about the incident and said he had been riding the cooler around town for quite some time. Because the motorized cooler was considered a vehicle under New York law, the man found himself facing a DUI charge.
9. You can get a DUI on a golf cart.
Not only can you get a DUI while driving a golf cart, but the charge is also issued quite commonly. In Florida, there have been many golf cart-related DUI arrests. In one that took place in November of 2015, a golf cart driver who didn’t stop at an intersection was found to be intoxicated faced both fines and jail time. South Carolina law also allows for a person to be charged with DUI while driving a golf cart.
The offense is so common, in fact, that Golf Digest had an entire report on the problem. In it, cops from Florida said that, while they don’t patrol the golf course, they will certainly come and investigate a potential DUI if one is reported.
10. You can get a DUI on a bicycle.
Biking while intoxicated has been the go-to option for many drinkers for years. Turns out, this might not be as safe as you would think. Not only do you have a higher risk of getting hurt while riding a bike if you’re drunk, you could also face a DUI charge, depending on the state you call home.
Two bike riders in Utah learned this lesson in 2008, when their ride earned them a DUI charge. The pair spent a night in jail and were forced to fight the charges in court.
Some states have specific Biking Under the Influence (BUI) laws as well. If you’re unsure of the law in your state, it’s best to check it out before putting your wheels to the sidewalk.
So, what do these weird DUI laws have to do with you?
The moral of the story: whether you’re pedaling, riding horseback, or even sitting behind the wheel of a Zamboni, if you’re operating a mode of transportation while you’re drunk, you might be at risk of getting a DUI charge.
Even if you don’t live in one of the states mentioned above, it’s a good idea to be aware of them if you ever travel outside your home state.
If you’re facing a DUI, dial (843) 488-5000, or email us using this form.