Golf Cart DUIs
Because of its socially distanced nature, golf has been one of the only recreational activities that has remained open throughout COVID-19 quarantine and stay at home orders. Another activity people have been turning to during quarantine has been drinking- nationwide alcohol sales rose 55% in March. The fact of the matter is, many people choose to drink alcohol while playing golf. Another undeniable fact is that it’s going to be hot outside for at least a few more months, so these players will be using golf carts. Enthusiasts of both hobbies may be left wondering what rules apply to operating a golf cart after drinking.
Arizona’s DUI Laws
In Arizona, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug. While you will be presumed to be intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, the officer may use their own judgment to determine if you are intoxicated for a BAC of .04-.079%. You must have actual physical control of the vehicle, but “motor vehicle” has been interpreted to include any vehicle with a motor, such as a motorized bicycle. DUI charges are typically misdemeanors, but can be upgraded to felony charges if certain aggravating factors are present.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, you will need to serve at least 1 day in jail and pay $1,280 in fines. These are the bare minimums and the judge may order harsher penalties based on your history and the facts of your case. You will also face a license suspension of at least 90 days, followed by required use of an interlock device for at least 6 months. You may be required to obtain SR-22 (high risk) driver’s insurance, and attend driving and alcohol courses. You will also likely need to complete at least 30 hours of community service.
So, Has Anyone Ever Actually Gotten a DUI on a Golf Cart?
While the incident occurred in Maine, Ted Nugent drummer Mick Brown was arrested in 2012 for DUI after drunkenly stealing a golf cart after a show. In 2017, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman David Parry was arrested for DUI after drunkenly stealing a golf cart in Scottsdale. Another Arizona man was charged with DUI in 2017 after assaulting a man on the light rail and drunkenly stealing and crashing a golf cart. In 2019, Saturday Night Live star Colin Jost even joked that he associated the University of Arizona (specifically “U of Arizona”) with getting a DUI on a golf cart on Weekend Update.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Golf Cart DUI Arrest?
As mentioned above, a DUI conviction will result in jail time, restrictions on your driver’s license, and cost you thousands. It will remain on your record for life, and can make it more difficult to have applications for housing, employment, and more approved. If you are charged with felony DUI, you will face far more extensive penalties and lose civil liberties such as the right to vote and to run for public office. Clearly, a DUI conviction in Arizona is serious.
One way to address DUI charges is by negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution. You may be able to negotiate reduced charges such as reckless driving, which doesn’t carry a mandatory jail sentence and license suspension. Your attorney may want to take your case to trial to prove your innocence, using defenses such as lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion, mishandling of evidence, inappropriate field sobriety testing, failure to read Miranda rights, due process errors, and more. You have the right to a court appointed attorney, but you may be ordered to repay some of the representation fees. You also have the right to hire your own private attorney.
While hiring a private attorney may sound expensive, it may actually end up costing you less in the long run if the attorney successfully negotiates lower charges and penalties. A private attorney will also have more time and staff to keep you informed- reducing your stress- every step of the way. Our attorneys offer competitive rates and monthly payment plan options to make hiring an attorney more accessible to everyone. The initial consultation is 100% risk free at no cost to you- we can even conduct the consultation over the phone. The longer you wait after a DUI arrest, more evidence can be lost, witnesses’ memories may fade, or you may do something to damage your case. Don’t let that happen- call and schedule your free consultation today.