It’s not often that I am involved with a Driving Under the Influence story before it becomes the news, but it happened in the case of a Kentucky man arrested for DUI / DWI while riding a horse. I received a telephone call from a reporter asking for background information on how the police could arrest and charge a person riding a horse for DUI in Kentucky. Accordingly, I am sharing the information herein.
It seems that Danny Reynolds of Jessamine County, KY, which is located approximately 16 miles from Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, had been drinking celebrating his son’s birthday, and then went horseback riding near his home with friends. At the time of his arrest, police reported that Mr. Reynolds allegedly had several beers, marijuana, and moonshine in his possession. Police reported Mr. Reynolds blood-alcohol level as double the legal limit.
Police arrested Mr. Reynolds for violating KRS 189.520 titled "Operating vehicle not a motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicants or substance which may impair driving ability".
Essentially, KRS 189.520 states that "No person under the influence of intoxicating beverages or any substance which may impair one's driving ability shall operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle anywhere in this state." KRS 189.520 further states that "(a) If there was an alcohol concentration of less than 0.05, it shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol; (b) If there was an alcohol concentration of 0.05 or greater but less than 0.08, such fact shall not constitute a presumption that the defendant either was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but such fact may be considered, together with other competent evidence, in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant; and ( c) If there was an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, it shall be presumed that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. Violating KRS 189.520 is a violation and not a misdemeanor. According to KRS 189.990, violating KRS 189.520 will result in a fine of $20 to $100 dollars for each offense.
So what constitutes a non-motorized vehicle? Typically the list may include, but is not limited to: bicycles, horses, mules, horse drawn carts, skateboards, pedal powered surrey’s, canoes, boats propelled by paddles, electric toy cars, balloons, and more. Based on the county, it may also include non-registered mopeds under 50 cc.
Interestingly, KRS 189.520(2) makes it illegal for a law enforcement officer to not enforce charging a person with operating a non-motorized vehicle while under the influence. According to KRS 189.990, any peace officer who violates KRS 189.520(2) will be fined not less than $35 nor more than $100.