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Beyond Cars: Unusual DUI Offenses Involving Unexpected Vehicles

Recently, we introduced a new column to ponder the many modes of transportation that put the “drive” in DUI. And so, as we strolled through downtown Denver this weekend, admiring the twinkly lights and horse-drawn carriages, our first thought was not: “How romantic!” but rather: “Can you get a DUI in that?”

It turns out you can. And people have.

In 2009, the ASPCA found a Central Park carriage driver downing a beer on his perch—with several empty bottles at his feet—and realized he was guilty of driving under the influence. Things got a little crazier in Vienna, where a drunk carriage driver failed to secure his horses properly, and they broke free, taking a family of tourists for a wild ride across the Danube. In another case across the pond, a British man slumped in the front seat of a horse-drawn carriage and tried to convince the authorities the horse was as drunk as he was.

Stateside, the Amish seem to have the most trouble staying off the buggy after a drink or two. An Amish man in Pennsylvania made headlines for getting a DUI. At the same time, he was drunk and asleep in his buggy as the horses meandered all over the road. In western New York, four young Amish men, enjoying a night of drinking in some buggy rally, crashed their buggy into a squad car. The laws aren’t as explicit in New York, however, and none of the boys were charged with a DUI for bugging under the influence (though they were charged with underage drinking). In the same area, Lewis Hostetler, a 17-year-old Amish boy, took the police on a horse chase after they tried to question him about an open container of beer.

It makes us wonder whether DUIs existed during the era of Roman chariot races—and whether there were DUI defense attorneys even then. Regardless, leave the reins at home the next time you head out for an evening of horsing around.

While the thought of a DUI involving a horse-drawn carriage or an Amish buggy may elicit a chuckle, these incidents serve as a reminder that responsibility and adherence to traffic laws extend beyond conventional automobiles. Whether navigating the bustling streets of a modern city or the tranquil lanes of an Amish community, the lesson remains the same: leaving the reins at home and making responsible choices, ensuring the safety of both passengers and pedestrians. As we continue to evolve in our modes of transportation, the legal landscape must adapt to address the myriad ways in which individuals can find themselves on the wrong side of DUI laws. So, the next time you embark on an evening of horsing around, consider the potential consequences and choose a transportation mode that keeps you and others safe.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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