Seattle DUI Lawyer FAQ: Can I get a DUI on a bicycle in Washington State? What about a horse? Can I get a DUI on a horse?
It takes knowledge and experience to be a great Seattle DUI lawyer. But creativity and cleverness is just as important in a Seattle DUI attorney. Seattle DUI laws leave much room for interpretation. Hence, it helps to be a creative Seattle DUI attorney. Seattle city ordinance and the Washington State DUI statutes require that the defendant operate a “motor vehicle” to be found guilty of DUI.
This article will discuss the definition of “motor vehicle” for the purposes of DUI.
Obviously, your neighbor’s Honda Accord is a “motor vehicle.” But what about riding an ATV or a moped after a few beers? Is that a motor vehicle under the statute? Or, how about lawnmower or a bicycle? How about a powered wheel chair?
Analyzing every word is part of being a good Seattle DUI attorney. Seattle ordinance and Washington State law defines motor vehicle as “any vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails.”
Our laws do not define “self-propelled,” but dictionary.com defines it as “propelled by its own engine, motor, or the like, rather than drawn or pushed by a horse.”
The statute expressly excludes “electric mobility devices” and “power wheelchairs.” That is a big relief, and not just a Seattle DUI attorney. Seattle citizens now have one less silly law to worry about.
A golf cart, on the other hand, is considered a motor vehicle for the purposes of the DUI law.
Mopeds are a tricky deal. Washington State DUI statute is intended to include motorized devices but excludes devices propelled by human power. However, a moped is both. That was the Court of Appeals’ decision in a 1994 case. The court reversed a Washington driving a moped DUI conviction because “it is by no means clear from this statute that mopeds are to be considered vehicles for purposes of DUI.” There is an example of great lawyering by a DUI attorney. Seattle motorcycle drivers are out of luck, however. A motorcycle is clearly a motor vehicle.
Bicycle riders are safe, however, since a bicycle is propelled solely by human power.
Riding lawn mowers likely are vehicles. Although we can see arguments against it. Currently, there are no reported lawnmower DUI cases in Washington State, but it would be interesting to see how our courts would rule in such case.
So if you had a few drinks too many, be sure to stay away from driving self-propelled vehicles.
Greg Sarkisyan is a Seattle DUI attorney at Community Law Firm, PLLC. If you have more questions about contents of this post, give us a call at (206) 771-4343.