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SWI: Shopping while intoxicated

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SWI: Shopping while intoxicated

POSTED ON: 02/08/2020

Many grocery stores offer motorized shopping carts as a courtesy to their handicapped guests. Sometimes the physical strength and energy needed to complete a shopping trip is too much to handle, and these carts can be a huge help for those who need them. Apparently they are an appealing mode of transportation to others as well. Judging by the trouble even sober people have driving these carts, it’s hard to imagine this being a good option for a drunk person. Who would have thought that stealing an electric-powered shopping cart and driving it to a bar could be a bad idea?

An extended shopping trip

A man was arrested in Houma, Louisiana, after taking a motorized shopping cart from Walmart and driving it to a bar. The individual claimed he had been at a different bar and stole a cart from Walmart in an attempt to avoid getting a DWI from driving his own vehicle. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office issued a news release that mentions an arrest for unauthorized use of a moveable, which is a felony, but it doesn’t mention that the man received a DUI or DWI. This raises an interesting question: Can you get a DUI / DWI when driving something other than a personal automobile?

Non-car DUI cases

Yes, you sure can. Every state’s DUI / DWI laws vary, but some are very broadly defined. In some states, you may receive a DUI if you are in "physical control" of a vehicle and are too impaired to safely control that vehicle. You can browse the internet and, on seemingly legitimate news outlets, there is no shortage of reported cases of DUIs on things like boats, bikes, horses, and other things including (you guessed it) motorized shopping carts.

What does the law say?

Laws vary so much from state to state, and law officials and judges must often interpret the laws. The basic elements in many of the non-car DUI cases seems to be that a person was above the legal drinking limit (based on blood alcohol content) and on, in, or operating something that was moving. However, you can even get a DUI when you're parked and sleeping it off which sounds like an interesting topic for another day.

Stay sober or don’t drive…

…even if it’s just a motorized shopping cart. Sometimes hearing these stories can seem entertaining when no physical harm was done, but we should remember the dangers of driving drunk no matter what is being operated. If you need help driving safely, call us at (866) 447-8686. Stay up to date on things related to DUI and DWI by following our blog.

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