When people think of someone getting a DUI, they often think about someone in a car getting pulled over on the side of the road. But there are so many more interesting ways someone can get charged with a DUI. Let’s start with what the actual law in North Dakota says. The simplest reading of the law is as follows “A person may not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle upon a highway or upon public or private areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular use in this state if … under the influence of intoxicating liquor.”
(1) Of course, driving while being under the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) to the point of making you “incapable of safely driving” will also land you a DUI
(2) But this particular blog is more focused on the “vehicle” portion of the law. Below are some interesting tidbits regarding what can be considered a vehicle when facing a DUI charge.
In North Dakota and Minnesota, we are blessed to have plenty of water for boating activities. But just because you are on the lake does not mean you are immune from DUI laws. North Dakota has specific laws just for boaters that outlaw their operation while under the influence.
(3) Minnesota even includes boats in its definition of a motor vehicle.
(4) Driving a combine while under the influence can also get you a DUI.
(5) How about a lawn mower? Yes, that will get you a DUI too.
(6) Even driving a zamboni while under the influence can lead to a DUI.
(7) In Ohio, a man was charged with a DUI in his wheelchair.
(8) A bicycle, even though it is not motorized, is still technically subject to DUI laws in North Dakota.
(9) Getting on a horse will not save you from a DUI in North Dakota, either. In fact, “any ridden animal must be deemed a vehicle” for the purpose of evaluating a DUI.
(10) The North Dakota Legislature recently debated whether riding a bicycle or a horse should be eliminated from DUI law, but ultimately rejected the idea. (11) Although a woman in South Carolina driving a Power Wheels truck (top speed of 5 miles an hour) was not charged with a DUI, she did get charged for public intoxication.
(12) I believe if the case was in North Dakota a prosecutor could charge her with a DUI based on all of the examples listed above.
Getting on a horse will not save you from a DUI in North Dakota.
The big take away from all these examples is to get sober transportation when you have been drinking. Not only is it incredibly dangerous to drive while under the influence, in North Dakota nearly anything you operate can be considered a vehicle. Our team is well versed in DUI law and we have handled many unique scenarios. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, feel free to contact Scott at Nilson Brand Law for a consultation.
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact one of our attorneys to obtain advice as to your particular situation.
1 N.D. CENT. CODE § 39-08-01(1)(b).
2 N.D. CENT. CODE § 39-08-01(1)(c).
3 N.D. CENT. CODE § 20.1-13-07(2).
4 MINN. STAT. ANN. § 169A.03 Subd. 15.
6 https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/n-d-man-arrested-while-driving-lawn- mower/article_180bcb52-4921-11e4-a990-63921979f24e.html
8 https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ohio-man-wheelchair-cited-drunkenly-operating-motor-article- 1.1744912
9 City of Lincoln v. Johnston, 2012 ND 139, 818 N.W.2d 778
10 N.D. CENT. CODE § 39-07-01.