Golf Cart DWI
Occasionally, police make DWI arrests for people driving a golf cart. However, whether a golf cart satisfies the requirements for a DWI is a strange question. DWI requires 1) operating, 2) a motor vehicle, 3) in a public place. Driving a golf cart would count as operation. However, is a golf cart a “motor vehicle” for purposes of a DWI? Also, what is a “public place” in relation to golf carts?
What is a ‘Public Place’?
Unfortunately, the “public place” requirement is a somewhat low bar, as courts generally hold that any place that is readily accessible by the public is, well, “public”. This means that private, gated communities have been held to be “public” since the public has access in select situations (e.g., going into the community by accident while the gate is open). This would also mean that sidewalks and golf courses, even if private, might satisfy the “public place” requirement.
Is a Golf Cart a ‘Motor Vehicle’?
However, the real issue is whether a golf cart counts as a “motor vehicle” for DWI. The technical answer is “yes,” but it probably should not be. The DWI definition statute defines “motor vehicle” as having the meaning assigned in 32.34(a) (‘Fraudulent Use of a Motor Vehicle’). That statute, in turn defines “motor vehicle” as:
- ‘a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway [except devices which only use rails or tracks]’.
Texas Transportation Code 541.302 defines “Highway or street” as “the width between boundary lines of a publicly maintained way any part of which is open to the public for vehicular travel”. Section 545.0651 defines “highway” as:
- being in the designated state highway system;
- being designated a controlled access facility; and
- has a minimum of three travel lanes in each direction of traffic (except access/frontage roads).
A golf cart has the means to transport people and property. But, would a golf cart actually be operated on a “highway” as defined above? Perhaps, but semi-public areas like golf courses don’t seem to fit the definition.
More about Mimi Coffey & The Coffey Firm
When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.
The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), and Possession charges. We can also help you try to get a DWI off your record or avoid probation revocation.
Mimi is also listed on several “top criminal lawyer near me” directory listings such as Wise County DWI Lawyers, Tarrant County DWI Lawyer, Dallas County DWI attorney, Collin County DWI attorneys and Parker County DWI attorneys. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in Dallas – Fort Worth. She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.