When you hear the term “DUI,” your mind probably jumps to images of drunk drivers or cops running field sobriety tests. That reaction is pretty typical, considering that most of the publicity DUIs receive is due to drunk driving.
Yet, driving drunk isn’t the only way you could be charged with a DUI. In some places, riding a bicycle drunk is illegal, and so is riding a horse while intoxicated.
Drinking While Traveling
Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen if you got a DUI while traveling? The laws in other countries can be pretty different from what you might expect.
When it comes to DUI laws, the basic principles are the same everywhere. Driving under the influence or while intoxicated is dangerous, and therefore, illegal. However, the details of DUI laws can vary drastically depending on where you are charged with a DUI.
Sometimes, those details can be strange. Keep reading to discover the Top 12 Weird DUI Laws from Around the World.
1. You can get a DUI on a motorized wheelchair.
A senior citizen in Australia learned the hard way that motorized wheelchairs count as vehicles for DUI laws. Officers in a patrol car found him slumped over in his chair, which was stopped on a highway exit ramp causing drivers in cars to swerve around him.
The elderly man’s blood-alcohol level was 0.301—more than six times higher than the legal limit in Australia, reports CBS News. Police charged him with operating a vehicle while drunk.
2. You can get a DUI on a Barbie Power Wheels car.
Yes, you read that correctly. Power Wheels—those small, motorized cars designed for preschoolers—are illegal to operate while intoxicated. While that’s likely not an issue for most four-year-olds, it was a problem for a 40-year-old man from Essex, England.
The Power Wheels incident was this man’s second DUI offense within 10 years, so he faced a driving ban of three years. That sentence was reduced since the Barbie car could only reach four miles-per-hour, reports The Telegraph.
3. You can get a DUI on a Segway.
Just a month after the Norwegian government legalized Segways, police encountered their first case of someone driving a Segway while drunk, according to the BBC.
People in downtown Oslo reported a man for acting strange and struggling to balance on his Segway. Since the two-wheeled vehicles are “self-balancing,” the man’s struggles were clearly due to another cause—presumably intoxication—so police took him into custody.
4. In Poland, if you are convicted of DUI you may have to attend a political lecture.
Poland is home to some of the most dangerous roads in Europe. Drunk driving makes tragic accidents even more likely to occur. Perhaps that’s the reason the Polish government felt that fines and jail time were insufficient punishments for drunk drivers. In addition to mandatory attendance at political lectures, individuals convicted of driving drunk in Poland could lose their driver’s license for three to five years, The Economist reports.
5. In the United Arab Emirates, you may be flogged for a DUI conviction.
Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited in the UAE. A person convicted of a DUI could be sentenced to several months in jail in addition to a flogging. According to 7Days, the standard for anyone sentenced to a flogging is 80 lashes across the arms, back and legs.
6. In Turkey, you may get sentenced to a 20-mile march.
At one point it was common for Turkish police to take drunk drivers 20 miles outside of town and force them to walk back to town—with an escort to make sure the sentence was fulfilled.
7. In Malaysia, your spouse may also get incarcerated if you get a DUI.
Married drivers in Malaysia face serious trouble if they choose to drive drunk. Not only will the drunk driver be sentenced to jail time, his or her spouse could be locked up as well. So in addition to a criminal record, drunk drivers will have an angry husband or wife to contend with.
8. In Australia, you could be publicly shamed in the newspaper.
Individuals convicted of drunk driving in Australia have to face public humiliation along with fines and incarceration. Many newspapers there include a page with the headline, Drunk and in Jail, under which the names of drunk drivers are published.
9. In Costa Rica, El Salvador and France, your car can get confiscated if you get a DUI.
The police in these countries have the right to seize the cars of drunk drivers. Authorities may even sell impounded vehicles rather than returning them to the owners.
10. In Russia just knowing that someone is driving while drunk can get your license suspended.
This law takes responsibility to the next level. It’s not enough to make responsible choices yourself, but you also have to make sure your buddies are not driving drunk.
11. Also in Russia, refusing a field sobriety test will get you thrown in jail for 15 days.
Russian authorities apparently take the view that if a driver refuses to take the sobriety test, then he or she must have been drinking and driving. As punishment for being non-compliant, the driver gets a couple of weeks in jail to think about his or her actions.
12. In Sweden, the amount of your fine depends on how much money you have in the bank, which can be a good or terrible thing.
The DUI laws in Sweden are among the toughest in the world. The variable fine seems like a fair deal for individuals with a small balance in their bank accounts. However, people with high balances can get outrageously high fines. For example, one DUI convict had to pay a penalty of $21,000, reports WFTV.
DUIs are a Big Deal
As you can see, driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense whether you’re at home or abroad. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, you should consider talking to a local attorney.
If you’re located in SC, call 843-488-500 to speak with one of our DUI lawyers.