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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

Can you face DWI charges for driving a golf cart drunk?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | DWI/DUI

If you are an avid golfer, you undoubtedly love living and playing in North Carolina. Getting a tee time on a busy course can be exceedingly difficult in the summer, however. Fortunately, most of the state’s golf courses are open year-round, except during inclement weather.

Regardless of when you choose to play, you might want to enjoy some beer, wine or cocktails on the course. If so, you should probably let someone else drive the golf cart. After all, like in other places, you can face criminal charges for driving a golf car while impaired.

North Carolina’s DWI law

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration beyond the state’s 0.08% legal limit. While everyday cars, trucks and SUVs certainly qualify as “vehicles” under state law, many other vehicles do too.

Indeed, because the state law has an expensive definition of “vehicle” for DWI purposes, essentially any vehicle that can transport a person qualifies. Like bicycles, lawnmowers, scooters and tractors, this includes golf carts.

Possible penalties

It is important to understand that the penalties for a DWI conviction are the same, regardless of the vehicle you are driving. Consequently, you might face jail time, fines and the loss of your driving privileges. You are also likely to incur penalties for refusing to submit to a DWI breath test.

While it certainly is possible to face DWI charges for driving a golf cart while impaired, you also might have some valid defenses. Ultimately, rather than blindly accepting a plea deal, it is advisable to flesh out all your legal options.