Can you be arrested for DUI in Tennessee when riding a horse?

After the recent story of a Soddy-Daisy man who was arrested for drunken horseback riding, many people have wondered if you can get a DUI when riding a horse. Some states’ drunk driving laws encompass all sorts of vehicles, and some people have been arrested for horseback riding while under the influence.

However, in Tennessee, our statute specifies that the person must be operating a motor-driven vehicle to be charged with DUI.

That doesn’t mean that you’re free to ride your horse while intoxicated. The Soddy-Daisy man who was recently arrested was charged with public intoxication.

An intoxicated rider in the dark

According to News Channel 9, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office received several calls about a drunken horseback rider. Following up on those calls, a Sheriff’s deputy allegedly saw the man riding in the middle of the road and falling off the horse. He pulled the man over and arrested him.

According to the man’s family, the horse was returned home safe and sound after the arrest. The horse was not injured.

News Channel 9 says that online court records turned up a long history of alcohol-related offenses in the man’s background, including both public intoxication and DUI. His most recent conviction was apparently in February, as he pled guilty to DUI at that time.

In the man’s defense, his driver’s license had been suspended for a year on February 11th.

However, the judge in this more recent case pointed out that drunken horseback riding puts the rider, the horse, and nearby motorists at risk. The man was sentenced to three days in jail.

Addiction and DUI charges

We have no further information about the man in this case, but some individuals arrested for DUI or other alcohol-related offenses may have addiction issues. If this is the reason you have stepped outside the law, you should know that help is available. If you are convicted of DUI, you may be ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. Talk to your attorney about whether proactively arranging evaluation and treatment could have a positive impact on your case.

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