What constitutes a DUI on Non-motorized vehicles?

As I’ve mentioned in the section on Motor Vehicle DUIsKRS 189A, the Kentucky Revised Statute Chapter that governs DUIs, does not define what a “vehicle” or “motor vehicle” is. The definition is found in Adams v. Commonwealth275 S.W.3d 209 (Ky. App. 2008) where the Kentucky Court of Appeals stated that “the KRS 186.010(4) definition of ‘motor vehicle,’ [does not apply] to KRS Chapter 189A.” Id. at 209-10. And that “[s]ince there is no specific statutory definition of “motor vehicle” in KRS Chapter 189A, [the court must] construe that term in accordance with its common and approved usage.’ Id. at 210 (Internal citations omitted.)

Furthermore, the court in Heath v. Commonwealth, 761 S.W.2d 630 (Ky. Ct. App. 1988)  refused to accept that the KRS 189.010(18) (the former definitions section of KRS Chapter 189 – now subsection (19)) applies to tractors, because, in the court’s words “[i]t would seem to be a gross distortion of the intent of the referred statutes to hold [otherwise].”

KRS 189.010(19) specifically defines “vehicle” and “non-motor vehicle.” Section (a) defines ‘vehicle’ as
“(1) All agencies for the transportation of persons or property over or upon the public highways of the Commonwealth; and
(2) All vehicles passing over or upon the highways.”

Although that definition is pretty vague, we do get some clarification from section (b), namely, “‘Motor vehicle’ includes all vehicles, as defined in paragraph (a) of this subsection except:

  1. Road rollers;
  2. Road graders;
  3. Farm tractors;
  4. Vehicles on which power shovels are mounted;
  5. Construction equipment customarily used only on the site of construction and which is not practical for the transportation of persons or property upon the highways;
  6. Vehicles that travel exclusively upon rails;
  7. Vehicles propelled by electric power obtained from overhead wires while being operated within any municipality or where the vehicles do not travel more than five (5) miles beyond the city limits of any municipality; and
  8. Vehicles propelled by muscular power.”

KRS 189.520(1) is the operative statute for non-motorized DUIs that fall within one of the 189.010(19)(b) definitions. It reads, “No person under the influence of intoxicating beverages or any substance which may impair one’s driving ability shall operate a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle anywhere in this state.”

The penalty for this offense is found in KRS 189.990(1), which institutes a fine of $20-100 per violation. There are no aggravating circumstances, and it is not an enhanceable offense. However, the court may recommend the person attend an alcohol treatment program per KRS 186.560(5), if convicted of KRS 189.520(1), and if they do not complete the program, then their license shall be revoked for six months by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

If you received a DUI in a non-motorized vehicle, you need competent and experienced counsel to help you with your case. Do not delay, call the DUI Guy today.

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