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Can a Person in Illinois Operating a Lawnmower While Intoxicated be Charged with a DUI Offense?

When people think of DUI crimes, they usually contemplate a person charged with an offense after being caught driving a car, truck, or SUV while intoxicated. In many states, though, a person can be charged with a DUI crime for operating any motorized vehicle. This was demonstrated recently in Kansas, where a man was charged with a DUI offense after operating a lawnmower while impaired due to alcohol. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney to determine your rights.

The Kansas Arrest

It is reported that police officers in Shawnee County, Kansas, pulled over a man who was driving down the shoulder of a highway. When they spoke to the man, his demeanor led them to suspect that he was intoxicated. The police administered field sobriety tests to the man, which he failed. He was then arrested and charged with DUI. While the crime was not novel, the man’s choice of vehicle was, as he was operating a lawnmower. In Kansas, though, a DUI offense can arise out of the operation of any motor vehicle while intoxicated.

DUI Offenses in Illinois

Illinois is similar to Kansas in that a person need not be driving a car to be charged with a DUI offense. Specifically, the DUI law prohibits a person from driving or being in actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Notably, the statute does not limit the term “vehicle” to a car, SUV, or any other automobile that is typically operated on public streets.

Further, the Illinois Vehicle Code defines the term “vehicle” as all devices on which people or property can be transported on a highway, except those propelled by human power, snowmobiles, and devices used solely on tracks or rails. In other words, motorized vehicles other than trains, trolleys, and snowmobiles are considered vehicles under Illinois law, and it is illegal to operate them while intoxicated. Based on the foregoing definition, the Illinois courts have convicted people of DUI crimes for operating a variety of vehicles, including ATVs.

The main issue in determining whether a device is considered a vehicle for purposes of DUI crimes is whether the device is propelled by a motor or the human using the device. Notably, the DUI statute merely refers to vehicles, which does not preclude electronic bicycles from its definition. Thus, a person could conceivably be charged with a DUI offense for operating an electronic bike while intoxicated.

Speak with an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

DUI crimes do not have to arise out of the operation of a car, as a person can be charged with a DUI offense for driving a variety of other vehicles. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer about your possible defenses. Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced Illinois attorney who is proficient at aiding people in the pursuit of favorable outcomes, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a meeting.

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