DUI in a Wheelchair?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on January 13th, 2005

Some time ago I wrote a post about the efforts of police and prosecutors to stretch the DUI net as far as possible — and then some. Entitled "DUI on a Horse?", it reported cases of citizens charged with being under the influence of alcohol while "driving" such "vehicles" as a bicycle, a lawn mower and a horse. How far will law enforcement go? Consider the following excerpt from a story in the St. Petersburg Times (January 4, 2005):

"BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando judge Monday threw out the case against a 46-year-old woman accused of driving drunk while operating her wheelchair. "Judge Peyton Hyslop, in one of his last rulings from the bench, said the wheelchair essentially was the woman's legs and that charging her in this case would be tantamount to bringing DUI charges against anyone who was drunk and standing up…..

Hyslop said under those terms, an able-bodied totally intoxicated person sitting next to the impaired disabled person "would not be subject to such arrest, and only to arrest if disorderly". "(The woman) acknowledged having a few beers while taking her prescription medication. She suffers from degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis and scoliosis, according to court documents…."
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