CAN A GOLFER GET A DUI ON A GOLF CART?

May 1, 2015 @ 01:25 AM — by Myles L. Berman

A GOLF CART IS A VEHICLE

In the state of California, an individual only needs to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance. Some may argue that a golf cart is not a motor vehicle. Instead, it is just a battery operated conveyance that easies the movement around the greens and therefore it should not be treated in the same light as a car. I agree with the logic of the argument; however the conclusion is problematic for several reasons. One reason is that California law basically applies DUI laws to any form of transportation or conveyance that is self-propelled. Additionally, cars are becoming battery operated as well, like the electric charge for example.

NOT JUST DRIVEN ON GOLF COURSES

Additionally, it should be mentioned that golf carts are not only driven on golf courses. There are many communities which prohibit cars and require golf carts instead.  Examples of such communities are senior living communities, motor home communities, and certain island locations.  There are also individuals who no longer own a car due to the expense, or revoked driver’s license, and instead choose to use a golf cart. None of the above mentioned circumstances are exempted from the DUI laws within the state of California.

PRIVATE PROPERTY NO HELP

Another argument against a golfer getting a DUI on a golf course is that a golf course is a privately owned business and therefore the DUI laws should not apply to privately held grounds. I like that argument. However, because golf courses are open to the public they are not considered private and a person can get arrested for a DUI on a golf cart while driving on a golf course.

INTENT IN CALIFORNIA

What about the issue of intention? What if you did not know that driving in a golf cart was DUI and therefore you did not intend to commit a criminal act? Will that argument beat a DUI arrest? Unfortunately the answer is “no”. DUI laws in California do not require that someone specifically intend to commit a criminal act. Instead, you need only to volitionally drive a motor vehicle while impaired. Although you may argue that the intent was only to drive and not to drive a motor vehicle due to lack of knowledge that a golf cart is a motor vehicle – that argument will get you nowhere. You need only to voluntarily move the golf cart while under the influence to get a DUI.

NOT EVEN DRIVING

What if you were under the influence but instead of driving the golf cart you only pushed it out a sand trap while your sober buddy was behind the wheel? That is the best argument that you can have for a golf cart DUI. However, technically under the factual scenario you were volitionally moving a self-propelled battery operated vehicle while impaired. Fairness would dictate that the DUI laws not apply to you as you were not operating the vehicle – just pushing it.

So long guys. I hope you enjoyed this recent issue. Drive safe! If arrested for DUI, call or contact us right away!

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