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9 Surprising Ways You Can Get a DUI

by Alana Redmond about a year ago in fact or fiction

Thought you knew the definition of motor vehicle? Think again.

9 Surprising Ways You Can Get a DUI

When you hear “DUI,” most people immediately think of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. However, many states have different policies on how and what is defined as a motor vehicle. There are still other ways you can find yourself behind bars, even if you didn't get behind the wheel of a car.

On a Lawnmower

Believe it or not, operating a motorized lawn-mower or tractor trailer can land you a DWI in most states across the U.S. For example, under Oklahoma Law, you can be charged with a lawnmower DUI if you are on any public roadway. If you remain on your property or in your driveway, the DUI won’t apply.

Riding a Horse

A California man was recently arrested and charged with a DUI for riding his horse in the early morning hours along the freeway. Luis Perez was picked up by California Highway Patrol after he was spotted trotting along the 91 freeway in Long Beach at 1 AM.

State laws vary in many aspects in regards to riding an animal intoxicated. Generally, a “driver” of a horse and buggy or horse can be charged with a DUI because many states automatically rely on the public intoxication statutes for prosecution. However, in the state of Colorado, riding horses under the influence will only land you a traffic violation.

Operating a Motorized Wheelchair

A Florida man was arrested and charged with a DUI for driving his motorized wheelchair. A wheelchair DUI usually only happens when someone who is extremely intoxicated abuses the main purpose of a wheelchair. For individuals who rely on wheelchairs to get from place to place, this may seem unfair—especially when drunk people can legally walk (stumble) home drunk.

Bicycle (BUI)

You guessed it; operating a bike while under the influence can not only be extremely dangerous, but it can land you a DUI. Biking under the influence (BUI) laws vary from state-to-state. Texas seems to be the only state that is divided on the issue.

According to Houston DWI lawyer, David A. Breston, “Texas law prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol or any substance in a motor vehicle. However, the Texas Penal Code 49.04 is clearly written for motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists.” The penal code defines a motor vehicle as “a device in, on or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.” Since the Texas penal code definition is so broad, it's very hard to determine if you can be actually arrested for a BUI in Texas.

Electric Scooter/ Segway/ Hoverboards

The rise of dockless e-bikes and scooters have given many people the opportunity to explore their community and get around town in a new fun way. However, don’t leave the bar on an electric bike—it could cost you a DUI.

In 2016, California made hoverboarding under the influence illegal on public sidewalks. According to California vehicle code and CVC regulations for EMB (Electric Motorized Boards) 21296, “It is unlawful for the operation of an EMB while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug or under their combined influence.”

Operating a Zamboni

Again, this is the same situation involving anything that has a motor. It's very similar to operating a tractor or lawnmower while intoxicated. However, this one is one ice and generally, when someone is operating a Zamboni, they are in a public ice rink. According to a report, there has only been a total of three Zamboni DUI arrests to date.

Off-Roading on ATV’s

Operating an ATV or off-road vehicle can land you in some serious trouble with the law. In most, if not all, states across the U.S, you can get busted for a DUI on an ATV. In fact, in many states, you don’t even have to be on a road or public street.

In California, you can be arrested for a DUI on an ATV on private property. Washington State distinguishes the two between a DUI on private property and a DUI on a public roadway. Being arrested for a DUI for riding an ATV on private property in Washington has much less severe penalties. These types of arrests are very common in more rural states.


In the U.S, the simple answer is yes. You can get a DUI while kayaking because it is against the law to operate any vessel when under the influence—this applies to all 50 states. However, every state defines their boating laws differently, but the majority of penalties for kayaking while drunk include large fines and possible jail time.

Driving a Motorized Bar Stool

Believe it or not, you can even be arrested for riding a motorized bar stool if you’re intoxicated. One Ohio man was arrested in 2009 for riding a motorized bar stool while intoxicated. This creative contraption landed 29-year-old Kyle Wygle three days in a driver education program and a hefty DUI fine. According to the report, he used a bar stool, attached a frame, and tied it to his lawnmower.

Bottom Line

Being drunk on wheels or in the water is never good. The basics of all non-car DUI’s is generally anyone operating something that is moving and they’re above the legal limit. While all States vary in some regard it’s important to not push your luck and don’t risk it if you think what you’re doing may harm the public or yourself. If you have to second guess it, it's probably not worth it.

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Alana Redmond

Alana Redmond is a graduate in Media and Business from the University of California San Diego. She is also a consumer safety writer for

See all posts by Alana Redmond