What is a Vehicle? a bike? a boat? a golf cart?

What constitutes a vehicle is sometimes not that clear.

What about a bicycle, boat or a horse?

The Vehicle Code defines a vehicle (VC670) as:

A device by which any or property may be propelled, or drawn upon a
highway, except a device moved exclusively by human power or used
exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

It is clear that a bicycle or a boat does not fit the definition of a
vehicle as it is defined in the code. But there are other sections in the
code, and there are other codes!

It is unlawful to ride a bike under the influence (VC21200). For
boaters in the Harbor and Navigation Code it is unlawful to ride a boat
under the influence. The levels for boating are the same (0.08) as they
are for an automobile.

Driving on private property is generally protected under the fourth
amendment except in drunk driving cases. In Buehler v. Meese (1986), the
appellant was arrested based on conduct that occurred in a trailer park.
The court of appeal held that driving under the influence of alcohol laws
apply to private property as well as on “highways.” the court noted that
restricting such laws to public highways “would also lead to absurd
consequences because alcohol impaired driving is dangerous wherever it is
done.

But as with all laws exceptions can be cited. In a recent Napa county
case. A Napa county peace officer noticed a tractor ‘lurching’ toward the
highway and decided to get a closer look to see what the defendant was
doing. He stopped his vehicle and got out. He then observed the defendant
with a bottle of beer on the tractor. He then arrested the driver of the
tractor (.17). The jury acquitted the defendant. During the selection of
the jury many jurors expressed difficulty with following a law that
prohibited such conduct on private property. So the decision of not
guilty.

DUI Attorneys


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