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Robert Longley

DUI on a Horse? The Law Unbridled

By August 3, 2009

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Take a brief break from worrying about insuring all the uninsured or trying to stimulate the economy and let your brain play with the news that a grand jury in Whitfield County, Georgia, has ruled that operating a horse while legally drunk (the rider, not the horse) is not against the law, at least not in Tunnel Hill, Georgia.

In a July 31 Dalton Daily Citizen article, Mark Millican reports that the grand jury “no-billed” or dropped the case against two men arrested for riding a horse while twice over the legal limit for DUI in Georgia.

“It was no-billed because it’s not illegal to be intoxicated on a horse,” District Attorney Kermit McManus told the Daily Citizen. “The legal distinction is that the charge of DUI is defined as operating a vehicle. Basically, to be in violation of the driving under the influence statute you have to be in a vehicle. A vehicle is defined as a ‘device,’ not a horse. A horse does not fit the definition of a vehicle.” The more you know, right?

The DA’s legal logic failed to convince Tunnel Hill Police Chief Roy Brunson. “The way we look at it, they put themselves in danger, they put other people in the roadway in danger, and the horses, too,” Brunson is quoted as saying in the Daily Citizen article. “If they get that horse in front of a car, we’ve got a serious situation.”

Also See: DOT Plays Mind Hockey with DUI Statistics

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