Can authorities arrest you on DWI charges for operating your lawnmower while under the influence? What about if you are riding a bicycle or driving a horse and buggy? The law in Missouri states that operating a vehicle while intoxicated is grounds for a DWI arrest. However, according to the Springfield News-Leader, the definition of a vehicle is very particular.
Specifically, only a conveyance that propels itself and has its own motor counts as a vehicle under DWI laws. A riding lawnmower fits both of these criteria; therefore, it qualifies as a vehicle under the law. Operating a lawnmower while intoxicated could be grounds for a DWI arrest even if you confine yourself to your own backyard and stay away from public highways.
However, neither a bicycle nor a horse and buggy has a motor, so neither qualifies as a vehicle under DWI laws. Nevertheless, operating either type of non-motorized conveyance while under the influence could still have legal ramifications. For example, you may face endangerment charges. If there is an accident that causes property damage, you could face charges for that as well.
Despite some fairly large Amish settlements in the state, attorneys in those areas report that they have never heard of any accidents or arrests related to drunk driving in a horse and buggy. However, it is not unheard of in other states. A few months ago, authorities in Ohio made a traffic stop of two men in a horse and buggy for allegedly operating the conveyance while intoxicated. Rather than speak with law enforcement, the two men reportedly abandoned their buggy, including the animal pulling it, and ran into the nearby woods.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.