Can you get a DUI for drunken horse riding? In FL, it appears you can.

A Florida woman is facing allegations of driving under the influence (DUI). The interesting part: she was not driving. She was riding a horse.

What happened in this case? A recent report notes that it all began with a call to 911. Someone made the call to report that they had observed a woman who appeared “confused and possibly in danger.” When police responded to the scene they found the woman riding her horse through the roadways. They took a breath sample and the woman’s blood alcohol level was 0.161. This is over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Although the woman was clearly inebriated, she was not driving. So how will the state support DUI charges?

How can a case for DUI be built when the accused was not in a car? The woman was not in an automobile at the time of the incident, but there are two factors that are likely used to support these charges:

  1. The wording of state law. According to Florida State law, a “person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment if the person is in physical control of a vehicle.” It is possible the state is attempting to apply a very liberal definition to the term “vehicle.”

  2. The location of the incident. The woman had taken the horse onto the highway, an area reserved for vehicles, when she was stopped by officers. This could support the state’s contention that the horse qualified as a vehicle at the time of the stop.

The woman is also facing charges for animal neglect and for endangering and failing to properly protect the horse.

What can other Floridians learn about DUI charges from this case? This case provides an example of the many ways to build an allegation of drunk driving. Anyone that faces these charges is wise to take the allegations seriously. It is wise to account for possible arguments made to support the charges in order to build a strong defense. Contact an attorney to discuss your options.

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