Getting a DWI in Texas Without Driving a Car

ATV-Related DWI in New York

Last week in Caroga Lake, New York, a man was arrested for the crime of driving while intoxicated while operating an ATV. He lost control of the ATV while driving on the highway, ejecting both him and his passenger, who was declared dead at the scene. The driver was also charged with speeding, reckless driving, and unlawful operation of an ATV on a highway.

Defining a Motor Vehicle

Although driving offenses are often associated with operation of a car, Texas and many other states allow drivers of any motor vehicle to be charged with such an offense, including DWI-related crimes. Under Texas law, in order to be convicted of a DWI a driver must have been operating a motor vehicle, while intoxicated, in a public place. Typically it is the level of intoxication and what constitutes intoxication that is challenged by an offender and his or her legal counsel. However, what constitutes a motor vehicle is also a topic of debate for the court.
Section 32.34(a) of the Texas Penal Code defines a “motor vehicle” as a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, expect a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks. As the Code does not exclusively associate DWI-related offenses with cars, the definition of a motor vehicle can include:

  • Motorcycles
  • Bicycles
  • Scooters
  • Vespas
  • ATVs

DWIs While Boating

The Texas Penal Code has enforced an entirely separate offense for DWIs while operating in waters. Section 49.06 states that a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. The Code defines “watercraft” as a vessel, one or more water skis, an aquaplane, or another device used for transporting or carrying a person on water, on than a device propelled only by the current of water. Again, the Code does not exclusively associate DWIs with boats, but rather leaves the definition of watercraft open to interpretation.

DWIs While Flying or Operating an Amusement Ride

Additionally, the Texas Penal Code has a separate offense for operating an aircraft while intoxicated in Section 49.05, called flying while intoxicated. There is an additional offense for operating an amusement ride while intoxicated under Section 49.065

Have You Been Charged with a DWI in Something Other Than a Car?

If you have been charged with a DWI while operating something other than a car, including but not limited to:

  • ATV
  • Bicycle
  • Scooter
  • Vespa
  • Motorcycle
  • Boat
  • Jet Ski
  • Airplane
  • Amusement park ride

It is important that you seek an experienced, knowledge criminal defense attorney. The trial lawyers at the Wilder Firm possess the refined skills and expertise needed to assist you in challenging your DWI, with a proven track record of success. Our team utilizes relentless, aggressive defense strategies and is equipped with both former prosecutors and a Certified Field Sobriety Test Instructor. Contact the Wilder DWI Defense Firm today to schedule your free consultation.