D’oh! DUI?: The Horse Carriage

By December 2, 2013Thomas Law Firm

Recently, we introduced a new column to ponder the many modes of transportation that put the “drive” in DUI.  And so, as we strolled through downtown Denver this weekend, admiring the twinkly lights and horse-drawn carriages, our first thought was not: “How romantic!” but rather: “Can you get a DUI in that?”

It turns out you can. And people have.

In 2009, the ASPCA found a Central Park carriage-driver downing a beer on his perch—with several empty bottles at his feet—and realized he was guilty of driving under the influence. Things got a little crazier in Vienna, where a drunk carriage-driver failed to properly secure his horses and they broke free, taking a family of tourists for a wild ride across the Danube. In another case across the pond, a British man slumped in the front seat of a horse-drawn carriage tried to convince the authorities the horse was as drunk as he was.

Stateside, the Amish seem to have the most trouble staying off the buggy after a drink or two. An Amish man in Pennsylvania made headlines for getting a DUI while drunk and asleep in his buggy as the horses meandered all over the road. In western New York, four young Amish men, enjoying a night of drinking in some sort of buggy rally, crashed their buggy into a squad car. The laws aren’t as explicit in New York, however, and none of the boys were charged with a DUI for buggying under the influence (though they were charged with underage drinking). In the same area, Lewis Hostetler, a 17-year-old Amish boy, took the police on a horse-chase after they tried to question him about an open container of beer.

It sort of makes us wonder whether DUIs existed during the era of Roman chariot races—and whether there were DUI defense attorneys even then. Regardless, leave the reins at home the next time you head out for an evening of horsing around.

What other DUI tales have you heard? Tweet us @duimatters.

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