IT'S NOT JUST CARS
When people think of DUI, they usually think of an impaired individual driving a car. However, DUI laws in California apply to vehicles other than cars. Simple examples of these other vehicles include commercial truck or motorcycles. However, DUI laws expand to include a lot of other modes of transportation as well.
CREATIVE DUI PROSECUTION
It can be said that DUI laws can be applied as creatively as only limited by the creativity of the impaired driver. (No need to research this phrase as I just coined it.) Anyway, California focuses on whether the individual is operating a vehicle that is self-propelled. Meaning, the vehicle has a mechanism within itself that allows it to move from one place to another. For instance, a car can travel without anyone sitting behind the wheel. So long as the car is in gear, it can travel a distance until some force stops it.
Motorcycles are similar to cars in that they too are self-propelled. The difference, however, is minor in that a motorcycle will tip over if not balanced by a rider. Commercial trucks are similar to cars for very obvious reasons.
However, what if someone is riding a riding lawnmower? Can you get a DUI on a riding lawnmower? After all, a riding lawnmower was not designed to be a mode of transportation, right? This would appear to be the proper logic. However, it is incorrect. As the riding lawnmower is self-propelled, an impaired individual can get a DUI on a riding lawnmower.
WHAT ABOUT BOATS
What about a boat? Can a person get a DUI on a boat? Yes, however, the applicable term is “BUI” as the individual is considered to be “boating under the influence”.
BATTERY OPERATED BIKES
What if an individual is pedaling a battery operated bicycle? Can this still be considered a DUI? This is a trick question. On its face, the bike is not self-propelled because the operator pedals it in order for it to travel. Since it is not self-propelled under these circumstances, one would guess that it is not a DUI. However, the law would state otherwise because the focus is on whether the bike is a battery operated self-propelled vehicle – the fact that the rider is pedaling it is a red herring.
Lastly, what if an individual is pedaling a battery operated bicycle because although still attached to the bike, the battery does not work? Should the answer be different? An analysis based on common sense would likely conclude that the bike cannot be battery operated and thus DUI laws should not apply.