D’oh! DUI?: Driver Pulled Over for DUI – Driving a Backhoe

By December 26, 2016Thomas Law Firm

In the state of Colorado, it is illegal for a person to drive a “vehicle” under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But what qualifies as a vehicle for the purposes of the law? Is a skateboard a vehicle? What about a horse? What about a backhoe?

A recent case out of New Jersey found a 56-year-old man charged with impaired driving after police found him weaving up and down the road, drinking beer, while behind the wheel of a backhoe. Empty bottles of Jack Daniels and vodka were found inside the backhoe.

Would the same situation apply in Colorado? Is construction equipment considered a vehicle?

DUI and Motor Vehicles in Colorado

For the purposes of DUI laws, the word “vehicle” has a very broad definition. A vehicle is a device capable of moving itself or can be moved on wheels or “endless tracks.” This includes things like bicycles and personal mobility devices, but does not include things like wheelchairs, ATVs, snowmobiles or farm equipment.

However, for a person to face administrative penalties such as license revocation for impaired driving, the vehicle must be a motor vehicle. The definition of motor vehicle does include many of the things that the broader definition of vehicle does not, including farm equipment, scooters, ATVs and construction equipment as well.

So, if our backhoe-driving whiskey drinker above had been caught in Colorado, he could face charges of DUI.

Denver drunk driving defense attorneys can help you if you have been charged with impaired driving.

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