Can You Get A DUI While Mowing Your Lawn?
One unconventional question is whether one can get a DUI for driving a riding lawnmower, especially on private property.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive look into this unique scenario by focusing on Arizona law.
This article will discuss the following topics:
- Can You Get A DUI On Your Own Property?
- Is it Illegal to Drive a Lawn Mower Drunk On Your Property?
- Penalties for DWI/DUI on a Riding Lawnmower
Can You Get A DUI On Your Own Property?
Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1381 makes it illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs on a “public highway.”
While the term “public highway” would seem to exclude private property, Arizona law’s broader definition of “highway” encompasses any road, street, or way that is publicly maintained and open to public use.
The term is open to interpretation and could be applied to private property accessible by the public.
Thus, it’s crucial to consider how “public” your private property might be.
If it is easily accessible to the public, or if you have no clear demarcations like a fence or a gate, the law might not be on your side.
Even if you are on private property, if that property is open to the public, you may still face a DUI charge.
Is it Illegal to Drive a Lawn Mower Drunk On Your Property?
The definition of “vehicle” in Arizona Revised Statutes §28-101 is expansive.
It includes any device by which a person or property “is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway” and is “self-propelled.”
Given this definition, riding lawnmowers could be included as “vehicles,” although this is a point of contention and could depend on the case’s specific circumstances.
In Arizona, the courts generally broadly interpret what can be considered a “vehicle” under DUI laws.
There are instances where DUIs have been issued for operating non-traditional “vehicles” like golf carts and bicycles.
Consequently, there is a strong possibility that driving a riding lawnmower under the influence, even on your property, could lead to a DUI charge.
Penalties for DWI/DUI on a Riding Lawnmower
If you are found guilty of operating a riding lawnmower while under the influence, the penalties can be severe, similar to those for a conventional misdemeanor DUI.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1381, penalties could include the following:
- Mandatory Jail Time: Sentencing can range from one day to six months. The minimum sentence is 10 days in jail, of which nine may be suspended with completing alcohol classes.
- Financial Penalties: A minimum of $1,250 fine for a Regular first-time DUI (non-extreme), over $3,000 for a Second Regular DUI (non-extreme), a minimum of $2,500 for a first-time Extreme DUI, and over $3,250 for a Second Extreme DUI – expect to pay more.
- License Suspension: Conviction will include a minimum 90-day license suspension with a maximum of one year.
- Other consequences include: Possible probation of up to five years, mandatory alcohol/drug screening and classes, possible community service, jail incarceration fines, possible monthly probation fees, possible SR22 insurance, and one-year mandatory Ignition Interlock.
Here, the repercussions extend beyond just legal ramifications. A DUI conviction can also significantly affect your employment, reputation, and personal life.
It is, therefore, essential to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney to understand your rights and potential defenses.
Interesting Statistic: Over 4,000 DUI cases in Arizona ended in conviction in 2019. While it’s not specified how many of these cases involved unconventional “vehicles,” the high conviction rate underlines Arizona’s tough stance on DUI offenses.
Facing a DUI? Arja Shah is Here to Help
Driving a riding lawnmower under the influence, even on private property, is risky in Arizona.
Given the broad interpretation of “vehicle” and “public highway” in Arizona law, one can still face DUI charges and subsequent penalties under such circumstances.
Therefore, it is crucial to be well-informed about the laws and to consult with an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney if you find yourself in this situation.
Don’t hesitate to contact Arja Shah Law for professional guidance and representation. Our team is committed to providing expert legal counsel, particularly in DUI defense.