Fore! Can I Get a DUI While Driving a Golf Cart?

If you’re a longtime Florida resident or even just visiting, you’ve likely noticed how many golf courses sprawl the state. Florida has over 1,100 golf courses, and among those golf courses are entire communities where golf carts are the primary mode of transportation. Many of these courses offer the opportunity to unwind and play golf while drinking with friends, but is it actually legal to drive a golf cart if you are under the influence? 

In this brief guide, the top DUI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan have shared what you need to know about drinking and driving a golf cart before hitting the links.

Is Driving a Golf Cart Under the Influence Illegal?

You might be surprised to find out that you can be arrested for drinking and driving a golf cart with the same severity as driving a car or SUV. That’s because DUI charges apply to any vehicle under Florida Statutes 316.193. If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, you can be charged with a DUI.

This applies to drinking and driving a golf cart on the road or on a golf course. In fact, the location of the golf cart is less important than whether you were behind the wheel or not. However, you’re less likely to be arrested for a DUI if you’re driving on private property, like a private golf course, than you are if you are driving on the road in one of Florida’s many golf cart communities. 

Our office is increasingly being contacted by individuals who have been arrested for DUI on golf carts. Common reasons that these individuals are pulled over by the police include:

  • No headlights at night;
  • Operating the golf cart on roads where golf carts aren’t permitted; and
  • Running stop signs.

If you are operating a golf cart on public roadways, make sure that you obey all “rules of the road.” Operating golf carts during the late evening hours is often interpreted by law enforcement as a likelihood of “bar hopping,” so the officers will be looking for a reason to pull you over.

Penalties for a DUI on a Golf Cart

The penalties for a DUI on a golf cart are the same as the penalties for a DUI in any other vehicle. These penalties will depend on any prior offenses and are defined per section 316.193, Florida Statutes. This states that for a first conviction you’ll face:

  • A fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000
  • If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000
  • “At the court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program and credited toward the term of imprisonment.”

Additionally, imprisonment for a first conviction is:

  • Imprisonment for not more than six months
  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, imprisonment for not more than nine months

Additionally, your vehicle may be impounded and you may lose driving privileges for as much as a year for your first offense. Remember, if you are arrested a second time on a golf cart, you’ll face even more steep consequences just as you would if you were in any other vehicle.

Call Clearwater DUI Lawyers for Help

If you’re facing DUI charges from riding on a golf cart, whether you were on the road or on a private course, you’ll need DUI lawyers in Clearwater who can help. Call Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today for a free consultation.

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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