If you operate a car under the influence of alcohol, then the police can arrest you for DUI. However, you do not necessarily have to be in an actual automobile. Take the case of police arresting an intoxicated Florida woman who rode a horse down a highway.
Although the above story may sound amusing, it put a significant number of people at risk although no one sustained any injuries from the event. In addition to DUI, the cops also charged the woman with animal endangerment. It is paramount that if you consume any alcohol, you avoid getting on any type of vehicle, which includes a horse.
Florida statute defines “vehicle” loosely
As of 2017, Florida defines the term “vehicle” as any device a person can use to travel down a highway. The only exclusion would be personal delivery devices or items that can only go on a stationary track or rail. A horse technically meets that definition, so the police are within their rights to arrest anyone riding on a horse who is under the influence of alcohol. In addition to horses, a person can also face DUI charges for operating a boat, animal-drawn carriage or bicycle while intoxicated.
Punishments remain the same
For a first-time DUI charge, the person will most likely face a fine of at least $500 in addition to potential jail time. As long as no one sustained injuries and there was no damage to property, then the charge will most likely classify as a misdemeanor. However, when riding a horse, the individual may face additional charges, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. For example, the woman in the above story also had to contend with a charge of endangering an animal. In Florida, tormenting, overdriving or overloading an animal of any kind can result in misdemeanor charges and a fine of no more than $5,000. The police may determine a person tormented a horse by forcing it to travel on a busy highway while the person was in no condition to oversee the well-being of the animal.