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Will a court uphold a DUI for riding a horse while intoxicated?

You know that you can get a DUI if you drive a vehicle while you're intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. What you may not know are all the different things that are considered to be vehicles. A bicycle might be considered to be a vehicle, and so is a truck or car. In this case, a woman faced a DUI because she allegedly rode a horse while intoxicated.

Can you really drive a horse? Does it qualify as a vehicle under the law?

It depends on the state.

In 1993, for instance, a court in California determined that people who ride animals on highways should be subjected to the same laws as those in automobiles. They need to ride safely to prevent harm to their animals. In Montana, the state law doesn't consider animal power to be a motor vehicle, so you could safely ride a horse home after a night on the town without the risk of a DUI. In this case, it's not yet clear if the DUI will hold up in Florida. One attorney believes that the case won't hold up, because Florida laws consider people riding animals as pedestrians.

Could you be charged with a different crime instead of a DUI?

That is certainly possible. You could face a charge of disorderly conduct or public intoxication, for instance, but it's not the same kind of situation as a DUI would put you in as far as the possible penalties. In any case involving a charge, it's a good idea to know your rights before you go to court.

Source: The Washington Post, "A Florida woman rode her horse on a highway drunk, police say. She was charged with a DUI," Marwa Eltagouri, accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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