Justin K. Hall
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED - GOLF CARTS
CAN I BE ARRESTED FOR DRIVING A GOLF CART WHILE INTOXICATED?
Golf Carts are normally used for recreational purposes. As such it is common for people driving golf carts to also enjoy a few drinks. Driving a golf cart while intoxicated does not seem the same as driving a car because of the smaller size and power of the vehicle. However, Texas law treats Intoxicated Golf Cart Driving as a crime.
YES - If you are driving your Golf Cart in a Public Place;
NO - If you are driving your Golf Cart on Private Property.
A Public Place is defined as "any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops." (Texas Penal Code §1.07(40)
WHAT IS A GOLF CART?
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, a Golf Cart is a vehicle that:
- Has no less than three (3) wheels;
- Has a maximum speed of between 15 - 25 mph;
- and Is manufactured primarily for operation on a golf course.
GOLF CARTS ARE REGULATED IN WAYS THAT DIFFER FROM OTHER MOTOR VEHICLES
- Registration is not needed to operate a Golf Cart on a public road;
- Golf carts do not need a license plate or proof of insurance;
- Golf carts are required to display a slower moving vehicle emblem while driving on a public road;
- Golf carts may be driven on public roads only within a master planned community or during the daytime and within two (2) miles from where the owner parks the Golf Cart;
- and Golf Carts can cross intersections;
- and Golf carts, if equipped with specific equipment and insured, can be driven on public roads with a speed limit that does not exceed 35 miles per hour.
A GOLF CART IS A MOTOR VEHICLE:
DWI laws apply to Golf Carts because Texas law classifies Golf Carts as Motor Vehicles. What is a motor vehicle? A Motor Vehicle is a device that can transport persons or property on a highway (with the exception of a vehicle that uses rails or tracks exclusively). So a Train, Rail Car, etc. is not a Motor Vehicle. But every other vehicle capable of transport is a Motor Vehicle.
TX Penal Code 849.01 - Definitions
(3) "Motor vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 32.34(a).
TX Penal Code $32.34 - Fraudulent Transfer of a Motor Vehicle
(a) In this section:
(1) "Lease" means the grant of use and possession of a motor vehicle for
consideration, whether or not the grant includes an option to buy the
(2) "Motor vehicle" means a device in, on, or by which a person or
property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.
WHY WOULD POLICE CARE ABOUT A GOLF CART DRIVER?
Police are unlikely to notice the activity of Golf Cart drivers on private property or within gated communities. However, Golf carts will draw police attention if they are driven on public streets and roadways. Because Golf Carts travel much slower than other vehicles, it may be more likely that a Golf Cart driven on public streets and roadways will be involved in a traffic accident. As such, police officers' attention will be drawn to Golf Carts being driven on public streets and roadways. As such, expect to be contacted by the police when driving your golf cart on public streets and roadways.
PENALTIES FOR DRIVING GOLF CART WHILE INTOXICATED
The same blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08 applies to Intoxicated Golf Cart drivers as with any other Motor Vehicle. The punishment for a conviction is also similar:
- DWI with a golf cart is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $2,000 and as many as 180 days in jail;
- DWI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $4,000 and as long as one year in jail; and
Furthermore, DWI Penalties can increase if you are driving your Golf Cart with a Child Passenger. Texas Penal Code $49.045(b) makes a DWI a State Jail Felony if any passengers in your Golf Cart are younger than 15 years of age.
PROTECT YOURSELF & DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS
If you are Charged with Intoxicated Golf Cart driving (DWI) protect yourself and contact The Law Offices of Justin K. Hall. Schedule a free consultation by calling 972-882-9424.