Okaloosa County DUI Charges are Possible, Even for Drivers of Golf Carts
October 22, 2015
A Lady Lake, Florida man was recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. When you think of a DUI investigation in Fort Walton Beach or in Destin, you probably envision police pulling over someone who is driving a car erratically or a person who is endangering the public by driving a large commercial truck or bus while intoxicated. Golf carts, bicycles, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) do not fit the popular image of a DUI. Nevertheless, the Lady Lake police officers in this case arrested the man based on their suspicion that he was driving a golf cart while intoxicated. Is this a case of law enforcement overreach, or do people really need to watch how much alcohol they drink on the golf course?
Florida Law Prohibits Driving a “Vehicle” Under the Influence
Florida Statute Sec. 316.193 is the state’s “DUI law.” It prohibits a person from driving a “vehicle” when the person’s blood- or breath-alcohol concentration is over a certain limit or when the person’s “normal faculties” are impaired by alcohol. What, precisely, qualifies as a vehicle for purposes of the DUI law? Florida Statute Sec. 316.003 provides the answer, defining a vehicle as:
- Any device;
- In or on which a person or property can be transported;
- Upon a highway;
- And not upon stationary tracks or rails
This definition of a “vehicle” – and therefore the class of means of conveyance that can result in DUI charges if a person is driving intoxicated – is quite broad and expansive. Other states, for example, limit their DUI laws only to drivers of “motor vehicles.” But in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and throughout Florida, a person can be charged with and convicted of DUI if he or she was intoxicated and driving a car, a truck, a bus, a motorcycle, a bicycle, an ATV or even a golf cart.
What Can a Fort Walton Defense Attorney Do For Me?
Florida DUI laws are tough, and if you are charged with committing DUI in Okaloosa County you can expect to be prosecuted aggressively. Although it may seem like a small detail, an experienced Fort Walton Beach DUI defense attorney will know to investigate whether you were driving a “vehicle” at the time you were stopped. If the state prosecutors are unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were “driving a vehicle,” then they are unable to make out.
A resourceful Fort Walton criminal defense attorney may be able to defeat your DUI charge if you were:
- Under the influence but not driving a “device” (which some recent states have held does not include a horse or other biological means of transportation);
- Not driving a device capable of being driven on a highway (such as a subway car, tram, train, or similar railed device); and
- Not driving a device that is capable of transporting a person or property (note, though, the device need only be capable of carrying a person or property: it does not need to be designed to carry a person or property).
You should not plead to a DUI charge or accept an offer without first having a Florida criminal defense attorney investigate the facts and circumstances of your case. Your legal rights may be seriously compromised if you plead to a DUI charge or accept some alternative disposition of your case only to discover the prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to prove its case against you.
An Aggressive Destin DUI Attorney Can Protect Your Legal Rights
If you have been charged with DUI, contact Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney and Criminal Law Trial Specialist Stephen G. Cobb. He has been assisting residents of Fort Walton Beach and Destin, as well as citizens across the State of Florida, with their criminal charges since 1990. Mr. Cobb will perform a thorough investigation into the facts and evidence of your case so that you receive relevant and accurate legal advice and guidance. Contact the Fort Walton Beach criminal defense law office of Stephen G. Cobb today at (850) 423-0035.
The Cobb Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Phone: (850) 423-0035
For more information, please visit: https://cobblawfirm.com/dui/