Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting a Ithaca DWI: No Car is Required

Even Golf Carts,
Anything with a MOTOR in NYS is a Motor Vehicle


Well just last month it was national news that a golf cart driver at the U.S. Open was arrested for DWI. Not only that but he ran over the foot of a State Trooper in the process.

In New York State the charges would have been bumped up dramatically. There would have been a Felony (the highest level criminal charge) Assault on the Trooper. An injury on a law enforcement officer, EMT, or healthcare provider while in their line of duty is a Felony level offense in New York State just because of their status.

"propelled by any power other than muscular power"

In New York anything beyond muscle power by an animal (ie. a horse), or your own muscles (bicycle) moving you along is considered a "motorized" mode of transport.

So Under NYS section 125 of the Vehicle and Traffic Laws

A Motor Vehicle = moped, motor on a bike, motorized scooter, golf cart, motorized wheelchairs, lawnmower, and riding mower.

Electric versus Gas Power: Does it matter?

Some companies love to advertise electric bikes for those with license loss due to DUI/DWI. In NYS this ain't going to fly. You can get a DWI on an E-bike (electro assisted bike) as well. A man in Whitehall, NY got a DWI for riding an electric powered (300 - 500 watt) three wheel cooler, yes a drink cooler on wheels with a padded seat.

More importantly some think that just because something is Battery Powered versus Gas Powered that that makes a difference. It does not. The motor part can be run by any type of power source: gas, electric, oil, you name it.

Before you go away thinking New York is the worst state (we are pretty strict) for DWI remember that:

In Georgia and Ohio you can get a DUI even on a pedal bicycle.
In Pennsylvania you can get a DUI in a horse drawn carriage.
In Illinois riding a horse while drunk can lead to a DUI charge.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

I am certified in Field Sobriety and Breath Alcohol Testing, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 500 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 500 informative videos on my youtube channel.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.