Intoxication Can Be Illegal in Circumstances Other than DUI

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We all know the dangers of intoxication or drug use before getting behind the wheel of a car, but when else can intoxication be against the law? It might surprise you to know that there are ways to commit DUI without even being in a car. In fact, there are many laws affecting intoxication and being aware of some of the more unusual ones could be the difference between a fun night out and a legal nightmare.

Obviously, the biggest crime committed while intoxicated is DUI (or DWI in some jurisdictions). Generally, the elements of DUI are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. But what is a motor vehicle? As may be obvious, DUI can occur not just in a car, but also while riding a motorcycle or other motor vehicle.

What may not be as obvious is that in some localities, non-motorized vehicles may also be eligible for DUI. For example, in some locations, when a bicycle is ridden on the roads it is treated in the same way as a motor vehicle. As a result, riding a bicycle while intoxicated could expose one to a DUI charge. Really, the reasoning is not that absurd: if one is drunk on a bicycle in the street, they are more likely to cause an accident by swerving into the path of faster moving vehicles than a drunk pedestrian stumbling along the sidewalk.

Another surprising “vehicle” in some jurisdictions: large animals. Riding a horse, donkey, mule, elephant, or other large animal capable of carrying a human may constitute a vehicle for purposes of DUI laws. Alternatively, riding an animal while intoxicated may be considered animal cruelty due to the danger it exposes the animal to, reckless endangerment for the danger to others, or drunk and disorderly if a scene is made.

Speaking of drunk and disorderly, what is it? Also known as public intoxication, many states and local municipalities have passed laws forbidding public displays of intoxication and associated behavior. As a result, in those locations, one showing visible signs of intoxication may be arrested or cited simply for being drunk in a public place.

If you have been charged with a crime related to intoxication, it would be wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney. They will be able to guide you through creating the best possible defense, even in situations that may seem absurd, such as riding a horse while drunk. Criminal charges are never a laughing matter for the defendant, and it would be almost as unwise to face these changes without good legal representation as operating a vehicle while intoxicated.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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