You know you shouldn’t drive after drinking, and you’d never put anybody at risk on the road. But what’s the harm in tooling around a friend’s private lot with your dirt bike after having a few beers?
Plenty — if you want to avoid an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). South Carolina’s laws draw no lines between public property and private property when it comes to drunk driving.
It is true that (unlike in many other states) you can’t be arrested in South Carolina for sitting in your truck and drinking a beer in your driveway or sleeping off some drinks in a car — unless the police can prove that you had been driving while impaired.
But you absolutely can be arrested for DUI in a number of circumstances that you may find surprising. For example, you can be charged with drunk driving for:
- Operating a golf cart while impaired. Whether you’re on the green or on a sidewalk in your own neighborhood, a golf cart is still a motor vehicle.
- Driving a motorized wheelchair while intoxicated. It’s happened before, and officers really do arrest people for this kind of activity.
- Doing donuts in a parking lot. It doesn’t matter how abandoned the lot or how careful you’re trying to be. If your vehicle is in motion, you risk a DUI.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your property or a friend’s, whether you are the only person around or anything else — the law is the same, and the consequences of a drunk driving conviction are fierce. To avoid even the possibility of an arrest, never operate any kind of vehicle while impaired.
If you make a mistake and wind up arrested, all is not lost. You may have more defenses to a drunk driving charge available than you think.