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Can you get a DUI for drunkenly riding a horse?

You want to go out for a night on the town, but you know you can't drive home. It's too far to bike, but you do have a horse. Can you ride your horse into town and back home without the risk of a DUI?

That's a good question, and it's one that actually does come up in court once in a while. Is a horse a vehicle? Does riding a horse make you a driver or a pedestrian? Different states have different opinions.

Take for example two men in Texas. They were arrested for riding a horse and mule through Austin. Initially, they faced DUIs, but later, those charges were changed to public intoxication. Why? Texas doesn't consider a horse a motor vehicle.

On the other hand, states including Kansas and North Carolina agree that horses can be vehicles, so there, you could find yourself with a DUI if you decide to drink and ride. It's probably not in your best interests to push your luck with the law, but since Wisconsin already doesn't recognize bicycles as a vehicle for the purposes of a DUI, it's likely it wouldn't hold up a charge for riding a horse while intoxicated.

If you're charged with a DUI for riding a horse while drunk, don't think you're in the clear. You could still face other charges, like endangering an animal or animal cruelty, even if you don't end up with a DUI. Your attorney can help you understand your case and the specific laws that apply to it, so you can develop a strong defense.

Source: The Week, "Does drunk horse-riding merit a DUI?," accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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