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Cuttin' up and getting caught: Can you get a DWI on a lawn mower?

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Cuttin' up and getting caught: Can you get a DWI on a lawn mower?

POSTED ON: 09/30/2020

You have to make sure you don't cut the grass too short, but make sure you don't leave it too long. Make sure you don't roll over the balls your kid left out in the yard. Make sure you don't blow grass clippings into the street or onto your neighbor's driveway. There are a few things to remember when you're cutting the grass. One important thing to remember: Don't drink alcohol before you hop on the yard tractor!

MWI: Mowing While Intoxicated

In Delaware, a man was busted for his fifth DUI after it was reported that he was driving the lawn mower on the road and traveling through yards while acting disorderly. In Florida, a man admitted there was no need for a field sobriety test because he admitted to drinking alcohol before riding his lawn mower down the highway. "Just take me to jail," he said. In Kentucky, smoking marijuana and drinking a half pint of vodka proved to be a bad idea for someone arrested after driving a lawn mower with no front or rear lights on the road. In many cases we found the person had previous arrests and DUIs/DWIs, and some already had suspended or revoked driver's licenses. So it's possible they were driving a lawn mower thinking law enforcement wouldn't notice them, but they were wrong.

What does the law say?

Laws vary so much from state to state, and law officials and judges must often interpret the laws. The basic elements in many of the non-car DUI cases seem to be that a person was above the legal drinking limit (based on blood/breath alcohol concentration) and on, in, or operating something that was moving. Anything capable of transporting people or property can essentially be considered a motor vehicle.

Non-car DWI cases

So can you get a DWI when driving something other than a personal automobile? Yes, you sure can. Every state’s DUI / DWI laws vary, but some are very broadly defined. In some states, you may receive a DWI if you are in physical control of a vehicle and are too impaired to safely control that vehicle. You can browse the internet and, on seemingly legitimate news outlets, there is no shortage of reported cases of DWIs on things like motorized shopping carts, boats, and lawn mowers.

Drive sober or don’t drive…

…even if it’s just your John Deere. We should remember the dangers of driving drunk no matter what is being operated. If you need help driving safely, call us at (866) 447-8686. Learn more about things related to DUI and DWI by following our blog.

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