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Even Cowboys Can Get A DUI In North Carolina

Earlier this month we posted about how individuals can receive a DUI even if they don't drive. If you are found drunk in your car with the keys visible, you could be charged with a DUI. It was shocking to learn that a DUI only requires an intoxicated person and a car. Now, it appears that a car might not even be necessary.

Earlier this month, two men were arrested in Texas for driving drunk. But they weren't driving cars, they were "driving" a mule and a horse. The two men were riding through a city street in Austin when they were "pulled over." The police officer originally charged them with a DUI.

Eventually, it was decided that the animals did not qualify as "motor vehicles" and the charges against the men were reduced to public intoxication. But before you get any bright ideas about drinking and riding, beware that North Carolina views the situation differently.

Every state has slightly different drunk driving laws. There are also differing opinions about how laws should apply when it comes to odd examples like this one. However, North Carolina's drunk driving laws use a liberal definition of what counts as a vehicle.

The law states that drunk driving applies to motorized vehicles as well as animal-powered vehicles. It also applies to ridden animals and "every device upon or by which any person may be transported."

Some states such as Texas, Montana, and Utah all interpret the law to apply only to non-animal vehicles but North Carolina residents are not so fortunate. So the next time you find yourself too drunk to drive, you should probably call a taxi and keep your trusty steed parked in the stable.

Source:, "Does drunk horse-riding merit a DUI?" Stephen M. Bainbridge et al, 18 January 2011

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