I’ve posted in recent years on the continual over-reaching of law enforcement in trying to chalk up more DUI arrests. One simple way is to simply stretch the definition of what a "vehicle" is. See, for example, Drunk Driving…on a Horse, DUI…in a Lounge Chair, Drunk Driving on a Lawn Mower, DUI on a Scooter and DUI – While Walking a Bicycle.
Not to be outdone, law enforcement (and the courts) in Palm Bay, Florida, have pushed the envelope….
Man in Electric Wheelchair Arrested for DUI
Palm Bay, FL. Oct. 13 — In his arrest report, police say Ronny Hicks appeared highly intoxicated, because his speech was slurred speech and he was acting confused. Since he was also operating a motorized wheelchair, the 54-year-old man was arrested for driving under the influence.
Police say Hicks, from Palm Bay, was allegedly blocking the path on a pedestrian bridge inside a park near Margaret and Helen streets in Palm Bay. Police were called because of complaints.
During his first appearance before a judge, the judge approved the maximum $5000 bond, because it was allegedly Hicks’ third DUI in ten years….
This is getting ridiculous…..
Another Case of Wheelchair DUI?
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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