Can You Get a DUI in Florida If You’re Not Driving a Car?

We all know that in Florida anything is possible. We come up with some of the greatest (and weirdest!) news stories of all time, and weird DUIs happen to make up a significant chunk of them. The truth is you don’t need to be driving a car to get a DUI in the sunshine state. Below are a few of the craziest ways people got arrested for DUI even though they weren’t driving cars…or trucks...or motorcycles...or even boats.

 

Horseback

In November of 2017 a woman in Polk County was arrested for DUI while on horseback. She was riding her horse on the highway, and drivers called the police. When the cops showed up they gave her a breath test and she blew a .161, double the legal limit.

 

Lawn Mower

Also in November of 2017, a man in Port St. Lucie was charged with DUI while riding his lawn mower. The man was driving erratically on the road while carrying a case of beer. Cops stopped him and he blew three times the legal limit.

 

Wheelchair

In October of 2015 a man in Palm bay was arrested for DUI while riding his motorized wheelchair. He was blocking multiple lanes of travel on a bridge and when cops approached him he smelled strongly of alcohol.

 

Golf Cart

In 2015 a man was arrested for DUI while driving a golf cart. Concerned citizens alerted police that they thought the man was drunk, and when police tried to pull him over, he actually tried to outrun them on his golf cart. He was finally stopped and arrested for DUI.

 

Now, you may be asking yourself how is it legally possible to get a DUI on any of these four alternative rides?

 

According to Florida statute  316.193 Driving under the influence; penalties.

 

(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;

(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

 

While the statute states that a person must be driving, or in actual physical control of a vehicle, that doesn’t mean the definition of vehicle is limited to a car, or even to some type of motor vehicle.

 

Florida statute currently defines a vehicle as "Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except personal delivery devices and devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks."

 

In all of the above crazy cases, these people were using horses, golf carts, lawn mowers, and wheelchairs to transport themselves on public roads, which fits within the statute’s definition. All of them also happen to be very intoxicated while doing so, which opened them up to a DUI.

 

So no matter what you are driving (or riding!) make sure you’re careful while doing it. You don’t want to be the next crazy headline that we write about!

 
Adam Rossen
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South Florida Criminal & DUI Defense Attorney
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