Can You Get a DUI for Being Drunk On a Horse?

Hourse ride

Due to the more severe punishments for DUI offenders, most people consider other alternatives to getting home from bars. In some parts of the US, horseback riding still serves as a popular transportation means. Suppose you own horses or live in one of the areas where horse riding is a common form of transportation; you might be wondering if getting a DUI while riding a horse drunk is possible.

The truth is, getting an answer to this question depends on many factors. Perhaps, it’s more like those questions with a yes and no answer. To understand why we’re in this dilemma with the response, keep reading as we explore the intricacies of DUI with horseback riding.

Can I Be Pulled Over Riding My Horse Drunk?

*** You can heck your BAC (blood alcohol level) with our BAC calculator here.

Yes. If a police officer feels you’re doing something wrong, they can pull you over. While horse riding doesn’t need a driver’s license, the law enforcement officers may ask you vital questions and give you a sobriety test if there are signs that you’re visually intoxicated. The officer can also use a breathalyzer on you if they suspect that you’re intoxicated due to your replies to questions thrown at you.

In California, for instance, if you’re a horse owner and have been wondering if you can get a DUI riding on a horse drunk, note that there’s a statute in the state that confers the same motorist right on people riding on animals on public roadways. Therefore, you share the same road and motorist responsibilities with other vehicle users.

If there’s any indication that you’re riding your horse in an unsafe manner in California, you’ll get a ticket for reckless driving. As driving a car under the influence is illegal, the same is valid for horseback riding intoxicated.

Suppose you’ve been arrested for DUI while on a horse; ensure you get an experienced DUI attorney to look at your case and the proper charges you might face.

Can I Get a DUI By Failing a Breathalyzer or Sobriety Test When Caught Riding a Horse Drunk?

DUI laws differ according to state, and it’s best to check what the DUI law in your state is and if it applies to horses. The truth is, most police officers aren’t aware of every rule, and seeing as people riding horses aren’t a common sight, they might not understand the law’s position on it.

Suppose you got stopped by a policeman with enough knowledge of the law; you might face a DUI charge not because riding a horse while drunk falls under DUI but to discourage others from towing that line.

However, the truth is that DUI laws are for vehicles only, so if you’re riding a horse on the public roadway while intoxicated, the charge will change to another count more appropriate.

What if I Was Driving a Horse Carriage Drunk?

Whether you were riding a horse or driving a horse and carriage drunk in states like Kentucky,  you’ll need a good lawyer. However, in most other states, the law enforcement agent might change your offense to something appropriate, and sometimes these applicable charges come with severe punishments.

For instance, they may charge you with animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, animal endangerment, or public drunkenness. While you can escape a DUI charge when drunk and horseback riding in most states, driving a horse drawn carriage changes everything.

Although they aren’t motor, a horse drawn buggy classifies as a road vehicle. Thus, it’s best to leave the buggy and horse where you kept them and go home using public transport when drunk.

Unlike a horse, a judge might rule away from the fact that a carriage or cart isn’t an animal but a self propelled vehicle and allow you to face a DUI charge.

The court might consider one factor that a horse can decide where to go, while a carriage needs human direction. However, this factor is unpopular, so police officers often charge for public intoxication when such an event occurs.

Horse Riding DUI: How Possible Is it?

Drunk Monkey

Before motor vehicles became the most common transportation means, horses were the popular way for people to move about.

Whether carrying riders or pulling wagons, horses helped people live their lives, work, and travel. People still ride horses presently, although as a recreation or sport like show jumping and racing.

Although sometimes, you might find a few people using horses as a transportation method. If charged with DUI for riding a horse while intoxicated, note that you could still face other suits, such as animal cruelty and animal endangerment, even if your DUI charge were dropped.

Therefore, you might want to get an experienced DUI lawyer to help you understand your case’s specifics and the law’s interpretation of it. That way, you can develop a strong defense.

Cases of DUI Charges While Horse Riding According to States

Can I get DUI riding a horse is an interesting question that DUI attorneys and the law court gets once in a while. However, the problem lies in whether the state considers a horse a vehicle and if horse riding makes you a pedestrian or driver in your location.

The following are different views, cases, and laws governing horseback riding DUI in various states:

DUI Horseback Riding Case in Texas

Texas doesn’t classify a horse as a motor vehicle. For instance, two men rode a mule and horse through Austin while drunk. Initially, they got a DUI. However, the law enforcement officers later changed those charges to public intoxication because a horse isn’t a motor vehicle in Texas.

DUI Horse Riding Case in California

Riding a horse while intoxicated in California can earn you a DUI charge, as it’s against the law. According to California statutes, the same law that applies to automobile drivers on the highway is also applicable to people riding animals. This law means that people riding animals must avoid reckless behavior and maintain a reasonably safe speed.

However, in February 2018, a man riding a horse through State Route 91 was stopped by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The officers discovered that the driver was intoxicated and did some breath tests to determine the rider’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

After the test result showed an 0.19 and 0.21 percent blood alcohol level, the man was arrested and charged with “riding a horse while under the influence”. The officers returned the uninjured horse to his mother.

DUI Horseback Riding Case in Florida

Florida DUI law defines a vehicle as a device that transports properties or people on a highway. Therefore, an intoxicated person riding a horse, bicycle, or golf cart will face a DUI charge under this definition.

A woman riding her horse close to Tampa on a busy highway was arrested in November 2017 and charged with DUI,  according to a Washington Post to show exactly Florida’s stance on horseback DUI.

DUI Horse Riding in Montana

Montana is one state that doesn’t regard horses as motor vehicles. Therefore, intoxicated horseback riders in Montana will get away with being charged with driving under the influence. The Big Sky state law excludes devices controlled with animal power from a DUI.

DUI Horse Riding in Louisiana

A horse rider can go home without facing DUI charges even while intoxicated in Louisiana. In 2015 as reported by a Huffington Post,  one Mr. Jack Williams got so drunk while visiting a daiquiri shop that he opted to ride his horse back to his home rather than get behind the wheel.

According to him, it’s safer to ride a horse when inebriated because the horse can find its way home. While a police officer stopped him, he wasn’t charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) since a horse isn’t classified as a motorized vehicle in Louisiana. However, Williams received a ticket for public intoxication.

Other States


States like North Carolina and Kansas accept horses as vehicles, so if you ride a horse intoxicated in these states, you’ll likely find yourself with a DUI charge.

On the other hand, in states like Wisconsin that don’t recognize bicycles as motor vehicles, you might be lucky to escape a DUI charge if you’re horseback riding while drunk. However, it’s best not to push your luck.

Whether the court upholds a driving under the influence charge against you or not, you might want to take the case seriously. Have you been charged with DUI? Ensure you quickly get in touch with an experienced DUI attorney to enable you to understand the case specifics and the best course of action to take.


Whether horse riding while drunk charged as DUI will likely get dropped in most cases or not, the offender will still face stiff penalties in almost every state. More so, you’ll have to attend court appointments for the ticket.

Depending on your intoxication level, you might get charges like reckless endangerment of other road users’ lives, being a nuisance, or even animal neglect. In some states like California, transportation using animals is subject to the same DUI laws as automobile driving.

Therefore, before riding to the local bar on your horse, consider finding out your state law’s stance on horseback DUI. You’ll probably get a disorderly conduct charge in many states after failing a sobriety test when pulled over by law enforcement.

The bottom line is that riding a horse while intoxicated isn’t to be encouraged whether your state charges such incidents as DUI or not. However, suppose you find yourself in such a situation, quickly look for an experienced DUI lawyer.

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