When most people think of DWI charges, they understand the NC DWI laws apply to things like cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
You may not know that “drunk driving” can include other types of vehicles.
For example, during summer vacation on the OBX, many people like driving around on golf carts, electric scooters, and bikes.
If you’ve had an interaction with law enforcement, you may have questions such as:
- Can you get arrested for DWI on a bicycle?
- What about a Golf Cart or electric scooter or eBike?
- When do the DWI laws apply?
In this blog post, we will discuss DWI charges in NC that involve vehicles other than cars.
We will also answer the question of whether or not you can be convicted of DWI for driving a golf cart, as well as explore some of the penalties associated with such a charge.
Stay tuned to learn more!
What is DUI in North Carolina?
DWI is an acronym for “driving while impaired.”
The NC DWI law does not specifically use the terms DUI or DWI.
N.C.G.S. Chapter 20-138.1 references only “impaired driving.”
In order to be convicted of DWI in North Carolina, the prosecution must prove that you were driving a vehicle and, as a result of your impairment, either:
(a) You lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties; or
(b) You had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more.
What vehicles count as “Motor Vehicles” under the NC DWI Laws?
The North Carolina DWI statutes apply to “motor vehicles.” The term “motor vehicle” can be somewhat complicated.
For example, Chapter 20 begins defining vehicles as a “device” that can be used to transport any property or person, except for devices that move by human power or those on fixed tracks or rails.
Unfortunately, the statute includes electric-assisted bicycles and human-powered bicycles are deemed to be vehicles. Devices used for transportation by a person with a mobility impairment may not be included, particularly when that device’s design limit is 15 mph when being operated by a person with a mobility impairment?
Complicated enough for you?
If you have questions about OBX DWI charges, we think it makes sense to talk with an experienced lawyer who possesses substantial experience handling those types of cases on the Outer Banks.
What other vehicles can you be charged with DWI in?
Now that we’ve answered the question of what “motor vehicle” means under North Carolina law, let’s explore some other types of vehicles that you could be arrested for DWI.
In North Carolina, you can be charged with driving while impaired on a golf cart.
The same rules and penalties that apply to DWI in a car also apply if you are caught driving impaired on a golf cart. If convicted of DWI on a golf cart, you will face the same penalties as if convicted of DWI in a car.
This includes jail time, fines, and having your driver’s license suspended. You may also be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle that you drive.
You can also be charged with DWI while riding a bicycle.
It is also possible to be charged with driving while impaired on a lawn mower.
What does driving under the influence mean?
The term “driving under the influence” (DUI) is often used to refer to drunk driving, but it can also apply to drugs or other substances.
In North Carolina, you can be charged with DUI if you are caught driving after using any impairing substance, including alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications.
The law in North Carolina describes driving under the influence as a “state” of the accused (the Defendant) who has their mental or physical faculties impaired by an impairing substance to an “appreciable” extent.
Do I need a lawyer for DWI charges?
It is always a good idea to talk with an attorney if you have been charged with any crime, but it is especially important if you have been charged with DWI on the Outer Banks.
A DWI charge is a serious offense and can result in jail time in certain circumstances, the loss of your driver’s license, and high fines. You may also be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle.
An experienced lawyer will be able to explain the charges against you and help you navigate the legal system. A lawyer can also help you understand the possible penalties that you face and work with you to develop a defense strategy.