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D’oh! DUI: Driver Pulled Over for DUI – Driving a Backhoe

Understanding the intricacies of DUI laws, especially as they relate to unconventional vehicles, is crucial for residents of Colorado. While the recent case in New Jersey involving a backhoe-driving individual drinking whiskey raises eyebrows, it prompts us to explore the legal implications of such actions within the context of Colorado’s DUI regulations.

In Colorado, the term “vehicle” is defined broadly under DUI laws, encompassing any device capable of moving itself or being moved on wheels or “endless tracks.” This expansive definition includes not only traditional motor vehicles but also unconventional modes of transportation such as bicycles and personal mobility devices. However, it’s important to note that certain exceptions exist, excluding devices like wheelchairs, ATVs, snowmobiles, and farm equipment from the definition of a vehicle.

The distinction between a vehicle and a motor vehicle becomes crucial when assessing potential administrative penalties for impaired driving, such as license revocation. While a DUI charge can be levied for operating a motor vehicle under the influence, not all devices falling under the general category of a vehicle are subject to the same legal consequences.

In the case of the backhoe-driving individual in New Jersey, the presence of empty bottles of Jack Daniels and vodka within the construction equipment raises questions about whether similar circumstances would result in a DUI charge in Colorado. According to Colorado DUI laws, the definition of a motor vehicle explicitly includes farm equipment, scooters, ATVs, and construction equipment.

Had the whiskey-drinking backhoe operator been caught in Colorado, he could indeed face charges of DUI. This highlights the importance of understanding the nuanced definitions within DUI laws to ensure compliance and avoid legal consequences.

Beyond the legal technicalities, incidents like these underscore the need for ongoing public awareness regarding the dangers of impaired driving. While the scenario involving a backhoe may seem unusual, it serves as a reminder that impaired driving poses risks to both the individual and others on the road.

Colorado residents should be aware that operating various types of vehicles, including construction equipment, under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious legal repercussions. In addition to potential criminal charges, individuals may face administrative penalties such as license suspension, impacting their ability to drive legally.

Moreover, the story prompts a broader discussion about responsible alcohol consumption and making informed decisions. Whether operating a traditional motor vehicle or unconventional equipment, individuals should prioritize safety and consider the potential consequences of impaired driving.


In conclusion, while the case from New Jersey may seem peculiar, it is a gateway to exploring and understanding the expansive definitions within Colorado’s DUI laws. The legal implications of operating different types of vehicles, including construction equipment, under the influence, underscore the significance of responsible behavior on the roads. By staying informed and making conscientious choices, individuals can contribute to safer roadways and avoid the severe consequences of impaired driving.

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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