Yes, you can get arrested and charged with a DUI if you operate a golf cart while under the influence. Below, we will discuss Florida DUI laws, penalties for Florida DUIS, and DUI golf cart cases.
Florida DUI Laws
Under Florida Statute § 316.193, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence if they operate, drive, or physically control a motor vehicle and:
- are under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance, and
- have a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or more.
In Florida, golf carts are legally considered motor vehicles. Specifically, a golf cart is defined by Florida Statute § 316.003 as a motor vehicle designed and created for use and operation on a golf course for recreation or sports-related purposes.
Consequences of a Golf Cart DUI in Florida
First-time DUI convictions are punishable by a fine of $500-$1,000 and up to nine months in prison. You can also face:
- License suspension
- Mandatory completion of 50 hours of community service
- Completion of DUI school
- Participation in or attendance at Victim Awareness Program
When Might You Be Arrested for a Golf Cart DUI?
Law enforcement officers must have a legally valid reason to stop and pull you over. If they do not have a valid reason, your attorney can work to mitigate your charges because of this violation of proper police procedure. It is also important to note that you have the right to ask why you’ve been stopped. An officer may pull you over if they witness you:
- Driving recklessly or erratically
- Driving on a road that does not permit golf carts
- Making illegal turns or maneuvers
- Holding or drinking alcoholic beverages while driving
- Doing anything that gives them probable cause
You can also be arrested if you do not pass the field sobriety test or have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more. While you do have to the right to refuse breath and blood tests or field sobriety tests, you can still be arrested for suspicion of DUI after refusing.
Examples of Golf Cart DUI Cases
Here are a few examples of people who have faced criminal charges because of a suspected DUI in a golf cart.
- In August 2022, a Central Florida woman was arrested for a DUI after allegedly driving her golf cart down I-95 while under the influence. Police were called to the scene after a semi-truck driver guided the golf cart driver off the road and to the shoulder after noticing her nodding off at the wheel. The semi-truck driver had taken the keys to the cart from Hawk (the golf cart driver) by the time police arrived. Hawk tried to get the police to let her go since she knew that driving a golf cart on the roadways is legal. However, police allegedly noted that her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol, and they later discovered an open bottle of Jack Daniel’s in her bag. While officers were unable to perform a field sobriety test, they still arrested and charged her with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence.
- In 2021, James Stevens was convicted of a DUI after driving a golf cart while under the influence. In this DUI incident, Stevens admitted to drinking beer at a local BBQ restaurant before driving his golf cart home. Stevens is now facing additional charges, specifically driving with a suspended license, after being caught on the radar speeding in a 20 mph zone.
- Colleen Marie Beardsley was arrested and charged with a DUI after driving a golf cart while supposedly intoxicated. Beardsley was visiting friends in Florida and was on vacation from Wisconsin, and one evening, Beardsley and her friend were stopped by police who suspected the two women of being highly intoxicated. Because of recent bunion surgery, Beardsley claimed she was unable to perform certain field sobriety exercises. However, she did provide breath samples, which registered as .116 and .115 BAC. The arresting officers did not tell Beardsley that she had the right to refuse to provide samples or perform the tests, though, and her attorney filed a motion to question the test results. The breath test and field test results were thrown out, and then the case was dismissed because of insufficient evidence.
Experienced & Reliable Legal Counsel
The Wiseman Law Firm offers clients high-quality and aggressive representation. If you or a loved one are facing DUI charges, we are equipped to help you work to achieve the best possible case results. With over two decades of experience, our attorney can help clients develop strong, personalized defense strategies, understand their legal rights and options, and fight to protect their rights and freedoms.
Contact our firm online or via phone (407) 708-9127 today to schedule an initial consultation and speak with a member of our team about your case.