You can be charged with DUI in South Carolina if you are in or on any vehicle that is powered by a motor.
South Carolina police have charged people with DUI while:
- Riding a lawn mower,
- Driving a tractor, and
- Riding a moped (even when S.C.’s DUI law didn’t cover mopeds).
You don’t even have to be on a public road to be charged with DUI. Because South Carolina’s DUI statute says that it is unlawful “to drive a motor vehicle within this State” while intoxicated as opposed to “to drive a motor vehicle on public highways,” you can be charged with DUI even if you are in your own yard on a lawn mower.
That could be awkward if you decide to have a beer while mowing your yard….
Why are Lawn Mowers Included in the Definition of DUI?
S.C. Code Section 56-5-2930 defines driving under the influence (DUI) as:
It is “unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired…”
So, the next question is: What is a motor vehicle?
S.C. Code Section 56-5-130 defines a “motor vehicle” as “[e]very vehicle which is self-propelled… and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails…”
What About Mopeds? I Thought They Were Excluded?
Although mopeds have been specifically excluded from the definition of motor vehicle and therefore DUI, the legislature amended the law earlier this year to specifically include mopeds for purposes of DUI offenses.
A lawn mower, tractor, moped, or any other self-propelled vehicle qualifies under South Carolina law. Is there anything that does not qualify for DUI under SC law?
What is Excluded from S.C.’s DUI Laws?
A bicycle, unless it is propelled by an engine of some kind, does not qualify. Similarly, a horse would not qualify. Under South Carolina DUI law, you can get from point A to point B while drunk using any means of transportation that does not have a motor.
That means if you have been drinking, you need to walk, hop on a bicycle, or saddle up to get where you’re going…
Have You Been Charged with DUI in Myrtle Beach, S.C.?
The Myrtle Beach DUI defense lawyers at Coastal Law, LLC, know S.C. DUI laws and they can help you fight the charges. We will get your case dismissed or take your case to trial when necessary. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.