Ask a Trooper: Can a person get a DWI on a horse?

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“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Ask a Trooper with Sgt. Jesse GrabowQuestion: A friend of mine recently saw two people riding their horses at night near a bar. We suspect they were trying to avoid a DWI. Can you get a DWI while riding a horse? What about a bicycle?

Answer: In Minnesota, it is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle, within this state or on any boundary water of this state when:

•             The person is under the influence of alcohol.

•             The person is under the influence of a controlled substance.

•             The person is knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance.

•             The person is under the influence of a combination of any two or more of the above elements.

•             The person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is 0.08 or more.

•             The vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle and the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the commercial motor vehicle is 0.04 or more.

•             The person’s body contains any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols.

A horse or bicycle does not fit the definition of a motor vehicle, so the operator/rider cannot be arrested for DWI. My concern would be for the overall safety of the horse and the rider. I have seen intoxicated bicycle riders crash or stuck by vehicles due to their judgement and balance effected by being impaired. An intoxicated person could easily fall off a horse or a bike and be injured.

Impaired driving does not always involve alcohol.  Prescription medications, illegal drugs and any substance that effects your ability to drive a vehicle safely can be considered DWI and a driver can be arrested for it. Troopers focus on getting impaired drivers off the road before they hurt or kill themselves or others that are sharing the road.

Whether you are traveling a long distance or staying close to home, it’s important to focus on safe driving. Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer vacation and travel season, but sadly it also marked the start of the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads.

Preliminary numbers show the 100 day stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day last year accounted for 120 of the 392 traffic fatalities, about 31 percent of all Minnesota traffic deaths in 2016.

To help make the summer travel season safe and enjoyable for everyone, motorists need to drive sober, pay attention, slow down and buckle up.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at [email protected].


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