DUI While Riding A Horse??? I Have So Many Questions...

Posted by William Young | Dec 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

Most of the time people are arrested for DUI during the operation of a car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or ATV. Every now and again you even hear stories of DUI while operating a bicycle. DUI on a horse was a new one for me... 

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53 year old, Donna Byrne of Lakeland, Florida was charged and arrested for drunk "driving" her horse. A driver sharing the highway with Ms. Byrne called 911 and reported that Ms. Byrne was riding her horse in the middle of the road and appeared confused. The caller was (understandably) worried for Ms. Byrne's safety. Officer's "pulled over" Ms. Byrne and recorded breath samples of .161 (over double the legal limit).

I am not sure what the law is on drinking a riding in Idaho (check back later, I will do some research) but I think it is fair to say that it is not a good idea even if it turns out not to qualify as a DUI. Is it really a DUI if you "vehicle" has a mind of its own and can operate without your input? I mean cattlemen used to fall asleep in the saddle all the time when driving a herd, does this qualify as reckless driving? What I am sure of is that, under Idaho law to be guilty of DUI you must be operating a vehicle on public roadways, does this mean that had she taken a shortcut through the swamp or ridden beside the road the DUI charge would have been dismissed? These are all interesting questions that I am sure I will never have reason to answer. If you have a horse DUI case PLEASE let me take it on, I would probable even be willing to do so Pro Bono just to satisfy my curiosity!

Also what do you do in this situation:


I feel like this guy had to be drink when he came up with this "vehicle" and we can't really say he is in the "driver's position" - he is on the hood of the car! Or the photo above with the the intoxicated man a passenger at this point? While it might be reckless to let your dog drive, I think he has beat the system as far as a DUI charge is concerned.

The question that really has my head spinning is what the charge would be if the horse was drunk but the rider was sober...some sort of equipment violation? Failure to maintain lane based upon the horses drunken wondering? I am taking suggestions!  

Well that is my random post for the week. Happy New Year! Stay safe out there!

About the Author

William Young

Idaho Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation Attorney. Although I do a little bit of everything in my practice, I focus primarily on Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation. I am licensed to practice, and have a record of success, in both state and federal court.


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