How Do Horses Relate to DUIs in Pennsylvania?

Whiskey with car keys and handcuffs concept for drinking and drivingWhat do a 53-year-old Florida woman and a 19-year-old Amish teen from Pennsylvania have in common? Besides the most interesting first line to a joke, these two seemingly unrelated people got caught up in rare aspects of drunk driving law you may not have been aware of. And when it comes to the serious nature of DUIs in Pennsylvania, it is important to always be informed.

Things You May Not Have Known About DUIs in Pennsylvania

In Lakeland, Florida, a 53-year-old woman was disoriented while riding horseback in the afternoon. After getting her off the animal, they found her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. They took her to jail and her horse to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility because in Florida a horse is considered a vehicle. The law isn’t very different here in Pennsylvania.

While on patrol in New Wilmington at around 7:30pm, an officer saw a buggy travelling without its required lights activated. When he pulled the buggy over and asked the driver to activate the lights he noticed the 19-year-old struggling to control his horse. He subsequently discovered that the teen had a blood-alcohol content of .0526, which is higher that the .02 limit for people under the age of 21. The Amish teen was charged with a DUI.

In both these cases, driver and rider were arrested for DUI because horses and horse drawn vehicles are still considered vehicles in their respective states. Here Pennsylvania, a horse and rider/buggy are considered vehicles with full rights to the road and all the duties that entails, which means drunk driving laws apply to modes of transport involving horses. Considering how common this type of transport is in our state that’s a good thing to know. If you are under the age of 21, it’s also good to know that the legal limit for your age group is .02 and not .08.

From the attorneys at Fiore & Barber, LLC—helping you understand your rights and the laws of Pennsylvania.

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