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Can You Get a DUI on a Golf Cart?

Posted on August 4, 2021 in DUI

You might know that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but you may not realize that drunk driving laws also apply to other types of vehicles, such as golf carts. It is your responsibility to operate a golf cart within the rules and regulations of your state. If you operate a golf cart while impaired, you could face criminal charges and related penalties for driving under the influence (DUI).

Golf Carts Qualify as Motor Vehicles

Although the laws vary from state to state, most states classify golf carts as motor vehicles. In Arizona, a golf cart is a motor vehicle with at least 3 wheels that touch the ground, a weight of less than 1,800 pounds, the ability to carry no more than 4 people and a speed of no more than 25 miles per hour. As a motor vehicle, golf carts are subject to all the same laws as standard passenger cars and trucks – including DUI laws.

What Are the DUI Laws in Arizona?

In Arizona, it is against the law to operate any type of motor vehicle on a public roadway with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or more. At 0.08 percent, a driver is legally too intoxicated to drive. Even with a lower BAC, it is possible to be charged with a DUI if the arresting officer believes that you are too impaired to safely operate the vehicle. This is called Arizona’s Zero Tolerance Law. In Arizona, the DUI laws apply on both public and private properties, including a private golf course.

The potential penalties for a DUI in Arizona change according to the type of charge:

  • DUI slightest degree. Being impaired to the slightest degree means that the BAC is less than 0.08 percent, but that the driver is still too impaired to drive. This is a class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense.
  • DUI 0.08 percent or more. A driver who is 21 or older and has a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, a commercial driver with a BAC at or above 0.04 percent, or any detectable BAC under the age of 21 will be charged with a standard DUI in Arizona.
  • Extreme and super extreme DUI. These levels of DUI apply with BACs of 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent or higher, respectively. The penalties for these DUIs are more severe.
  • Aggravated DUI. If someone was injured, the driver’s license was suspended or revoked, the driver has 3 or more DUI convictions within 84 months, or if there was a child under the age of 15 in the car, it is an aggravated DUI and a felony.

The penalties for a DUI conviction while driving a golf cart can vary based on the circumstances of the case, including the class of the charge and a driver’s prior criminal history. General penalties can include a fine of $500 to $2,500 or more, time in jail (including a mandatory minimum sentence for repeat offenders), driver’s license suspension or revocation, and a mandatory ignition interlock device. Arizona does not treat a DUI in a golf cart any differently from a DUI in a standard passenger car.

Golf Cart DUI Defense

If you are facing charges for a DUI on a golf cart in Scottsdale, Arizona, remain calm and protect your rights from the very beginning of your case. Use your right to remain silent during your arrest and after; do not answer any questions until you have an attorney present. Contact a Tempe DUI lawyer as soon as possible for legal assistance.

An experienced lawyer can choose the right defense for your specific case, such as that you were operating the golf cart on private property, the BAC test was defective or the officer did not have probable cause to make the stop. An attorney may also be able to negotiate for lesser charges or penalties for a DUI conviction, especially if this is your first offense. Learn more about how a DUI attorney can help you by requesting a free consultation.

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