Most people are aware of the severe consequences of a DWI conviction. Most are also aware of the danger of simply driving a car, truck, or motorcycle while intoxicated. These vehicles are involved in the vast majority of DWI cases, but did you know they aren’t the only vehicles that can lead to a DWI arrest?
You might be surprised to learn that Texas law isn’t so specific when it comes to defining what qualifies for a DWI. The law doesn’t mention specific types of vehicles such as cars and trucks; rather, it merely states that it’s prohibited to “operate a motor vehicle” in a public place while intoxicated (Texas Penal Code 49.04).
This can lead to DWI arrests in unusual scenarios involving uncommon vehicles, such as riding lawnmowers. While this scenario might seem humorous at first glance, the potential legal consequences are nothing to laugh about. Therefore, it’s best to take the following into consideration to prevent yourself from unnecessarily facing DWI charges.
Riding Lawnmowers & DWI Law
Firing up your riding lawnmower and cracking open a cold one might sound like a relaxing Saturday afternoon, but it can end in a bad way if the cops show up.
Texas DWI law prohibits driving any motorized vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Because your riding lawnmower is powered, it can meet the definition of a “motorized vehicle.”
There is also a broad misconception about what the law means by a “public place.” Rather than only referring to public roads and highways, the courts have previously interpreted a public place as any space that can be accessed by the public with permission or not.
This makes privately held land such as parking lots, ranch roads, and even front lawns “public spaces” for the purposes of a DWI prosecution. If someone could freely walk onto the lawn where you were enjoying a drink on your lawnmower, the police could have enough probable cause for DWI to arrest you.
Arrested for DWI? We Can Help.
Although a DWI arrest involving a lawnmower is unusual, it’s certainly possible. What’s more likely, however, is facing poorly founded DWI charges as a result of misidentification, faulty equipment, and unfair treatment by law enforcement.
If you are facing DWI charges under any circumstances, we at Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. can help. Contact us today to request an initial consultation.