Can You Get a DUI on a Golf Cart in California?

September 19, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in California  Criminal Defense  
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A DUI on a Cart, Seriously?

Absolutely, but it’s a rare occurrence.

In California, operating an automobile while intoxicated is unlawful. The permissible blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08 percent. Underage motorists are prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.05% or higher. A DUI can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Specifically, California Vehicle Code Section 670 defines a vehicle as anything that can move a person or cargo on a highway. It is a vehicle if it isn’t moved by people alone or used on a track that doesn’t move.

As long as it is not propelled by human effort or utilized on a fixed track, it is considered a vehicle. Due to the absence of a motor under this definition, vehicles may include bicycles, golf carts, Wheelchairs-terrain automobiles and Mopeds. A DUI is possible if you operate these vehicles while intoxicated.

Officers are more likely to arrest a drunk driver on a golf cart for DUI if:

  1. Someone is hurt in a golf cart accident.
  2. Golf carts are driven recklessly or at fast speeds on roadways.
  3. A drunk driver makes a public disturbance.
  4. A witness contacts the police to report a worrying circumstance.

A DUI on a Private Golf Course

Intoxicated drivers who use golf carts on private roads are less at risk of being charged for driving under the influence of alcohol but are not granted immunity from the law. In most situations, there is little justification for law enforcement agents to access private property; nonetheless, they may opt to police public golf courses. If you play golf on a public or private course and become intoxicated, other players may call the police if you engage in unlawful or harmful behavior.

Is Your License At-Risk After A Golf Cart DUI?

Suppose you operate a golf cart while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; you could lose your license, just like if you drove any other car. A first offender loses it for four months minimum if indicted for a misdemeanor, while a felony charge is possible for offenders repeating the crime.

A golf cart DUI can leave you with many problems away from losing your driver’s license, like big fines, jail time, and trouble getting college scholarships. So, if you would like to handle a golf cart, avoid alcohol or drugs, even though intoxicated accidents do not often involve golf carts. If you are under the influence of prescribed medication and are aware that the side effects are severe, avoid any vehicle with or without a motor.

Golf Cart DUI Penalties

In most jurisdictions, the penalties for driving a golf cart while impaired are identical to those for driving a car. The potential sentence for every individual driver is somewhere on a continuum, based on criteria such as the number of prior DUI convictions and the facts of the present case.

For a first violation, a person may face fines between $500 and $2,500, up to a year in jail, and a six- to 12-month license suspension. The stakes are far higher for repeat offenders, who may face mandatory jail sentences and other sanctions. Those operating a golf cart with an open container of alcohol may also be issued a citation.

Golf Cart DUI Defense

A DUI charge in California can be contested in several ways. Police might recognize the defendant’s outward symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs as probable cause for arrest. Innocent reasons can be used to refute the use of outward signs of drunkenness. Possible warning signs include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, a flushed face, a strong stench of liquor, or a shaky gait. These symptoms have several potential causes, including allergies, illness, and ocular irritations.

Additional possible defenses to a California DUI prosecution include:

  • There was an issue with the administration of the field sobriety test.
  • The PAS breathalyzer was either inaccurately calibrated or broken.
  • The fifteen-minute observation period before the defendant’s breath test was not conducted properly.
  • The defendant’s BAC was rising, but it was still below the legal limit while they were driving.
  • The defendant’s BAC was artificially inflated by diabetes, hypoglycemia, or poor nutrition.

In private golf courses and properties, officers can’t just pull up at any time and demand that everyone takes a Field Sobriety Test, a breath test for alcohol, or a blood test. They must have a legal reason for what they are doing and explain why they were on private property in the first place.

Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?

By far, your best chances of beating your DUI, no matter what vehicle you are operating, is with an expert DUI lawyer by your side utilizing all methods at their disposal in the California criminal courts. Your first consultation is free.

Need an Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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