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Golf cart racing results in DWI conviction for Texas man

Over the last few decades, the forms of transportation that people use to get around have undergone some dramatic changes. From scooters and Segways to racing-grade cycles and recumbent bikes, people have considerably more exciting options of getting from Point A to Point B.

In fact, one form of transportation that has become significantly more popular over the years is the golf cart. No longer confined to the rolling greens of the 18-hole course, golf carts are a favorite of suburban dwellers looking to tool around their neighborhoods to event staff working major sporting events.

As it turns out, those who operate golf carts in any location here in Texas may want to think long and hard about their alcohol intake before getting behind the wheel as law enforcement officials can actually charge you with driving while intoxicated.

Consider a recent case out of Fort Worth, where two off-duty police officers were directing traffic following a race at the Texas Motor Speedway back in April 2011.

Here, one of the officers noted a golf cart carrying three adult men was being driven on the grass and weaving between automobiles waiting to exit the parking lot. After it nearly struck a pedestrian, one of the officers attempted to stop the golf cart only to be ignored by its driver.

The other officer attempted to stop the golf cart by running alongside it and steering it into a fence, before finally jumping on the back and ordering the driver to stop. The driver, however, proceeded to ignore this second order and was later stopped due to the intervention of a track employee riding an ATV.

The golf cart driver ultimately failed multiple field sobriety tests and his blood alcohol content was measured at .16, double the legal limit. He was arrested and later convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Interestingly, the golf cart driver appealed his conviction arguing that the definition of "vehicle" under Texas' drunk driving laws was overly broad. For those unfamiliar with the law, it defines vehicle as any "device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway." This includes everything from a car and golf cart to a bike and skateboard.

In a decision issued just last week, the three-member appellate panel upheld the golf cart driver's DWI conviction. Here, the court declined to address his argument concerning the overly broad definition of vehicle on purely procedural grounds -- he failed to raise any objections during the course of his trial.

This, of course, means that golf cart drivers throughout the Lone Star state will likely want to line up a designated driver for the foreseeable future if they plan to drink.

Stay tuned for more from our San Antonio criminal defense blog ...

A DUI arrest leaves you with a criminal record that could affect your job prospects, ability to obtain loans or future opportunities. You may also face serious fines, the loss of your driver's license and jail time.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, be certain to contact an experienced legal professional.

This post is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be confused as legal advice.

Source:

The Dallas Observer, "Yes, you can get thrown in jail for drunk driving a golf cart at Texas Motor Speedway," Eric Nicholson, April 22, 2013

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