If the question “Can you get a DUI on a horse?” sounds like a strange one, then the answer might surprise you even more. Yes, you can get a DUI on a horse in the U.S. As is the case with any kind of DUI, however, the laws vary according to state. Even so, since we are dealing with a less common type of DUI, there are some general rules that you should be aware of when it comes to getting a DUI on a horse. Today, we are going to take a closer look at what are the circumstances in which you can get a DUI while on a horse, and what punishments you should expect.
Can You Get a DUI on a Horse? – What You Should Know
DUI While Driving a Horse-Drawn Carriage
First of all, we should make a distinction between actually riding a horse while intoxicated and driving a carriage or a horse and buggy. In the case of the last two, you can definitely get a DUI in many states in the U.S. For instance, in Pennsylvania this applies because there are many rural areas where these two types of transportation are quite common. So it is only natural that if you drive a horse-drawn carriage while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will have to suffer the consequences. However, driving a horse and buggy is not the same thing as actually riding a horse. So what do the state laws say in this case?
DUI While Riding a Horse
In some states you can also get a DUI while riding animals, which of course includes horses. However, even if the laws of the respective states clearly specify this, the possibility of it actually happening is so low that many of them don’t actually need to enforce it. For instance, to give you an idea of how different state laws can be, let’s have a look at what the answer to the question “Can you get a DUI on a horse?” is in the states of Michigan, Colorado, and Kentucky.
Can You Get a DUI on a Horse in Michigan?
Michigan laws are possibly some of the most specific ones when it comes to the type of vehicles or animals that you can get a DUI on. If you have been drinking, you are not allowed to ride a bicycle, drive a horse and buggy, use farm equipment, drive a boat, and not even ride a horse in the state of Michigan.
Can You Get a DUI on a Horse in Colorado?
If we were to compare, the state of Colorado is much more permissive when it comes to getting a DUI on a horse. The Colorado DUI laws do not specify anything about you facing a bigger punishment if you drink and then ride a horse. This offense is only regarded as a traffic violation, as opposed to Michigan.
Can You Get a DUI on a Horse in Kentucky?
Kentucky is another interesting example in what concerns the possibility of getting a DUI while riding a horse. In their DUI laws, there is the mention that you can receive a punishment if you drink and then drive non-motorized vehicles. So even if Kentucky law does not specifically single out horses, they are definitely included in that category.
What Happens If You Are Caught Riding a Horse While Intoxicated?
The answer also depends according to state. For instance, since this is not such a common occurrence, many of them connect the incident to public intoxication statutes. However, this is only the case if you were riding the horse in a public place. Since prosecution for this kind of incident is considered simply a misdemeanor, it is not as serious as actually getting a DUI. However, you can still get sentenced to jail, forced to pay a fine, do community service, and go on probation, which is basically extremely similar to the punishments in the case of a motorized vehicle DUI.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that the punishments above are not the only thing you might be facing if caught riding a horse drunk. You can also be accused of animal cruelty, not only for simply riding the horse while drunk, but also because if you lose consciousness, that does not stop the animal, which might hurt itself in the process.
Overall, even if calling being caught riding a horse while drunk a DUI might be a stretch, there is no doubt that the punishments are almost identical to a regular DUI. Which is why the answer to the question “Can you get a DUI on a horse?” is yes. However, as with all DUIs, it all depends on the state where you are caught committing the offense.
Is There Something You Can Do to Fight the Charges?
People who are caught riding a horse while intoxicated should immediately contact a lawyer and see if there is any possibility of a plea bargain or a diminished punishment. In some states, it is worth trying to challenge the decision by saying that a horse is not the same as a motorized vehicle. Depending on state laws and on how specific they are as to what constitutes a vehicle, the court might have to let go of the charges.
Summing Everything Up
As strange as it sounds that you might get a DUI while riding a horse, many people do not entirely think the consequences through. Even if you are not driving a motorized vehicle, that doesn’t mean that you cannot be a risk to other people or to the animal you are riding. Unfortunately, there were cases where horses were injured or died as a result of someone riding them while intoxicated. So for their safety, the safety of other people, and the safety of the animal, people should avoid riding a horse while under the influence, as they would in the case of a vehicle.