Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Defines the Term “Vehicle”

A recent incident in Fargo, North Dakota has reminded us that some people drive vehicles other than cars when they are intoxicated. Parents and other spectators at a girls’ high school hockey game contacted police when they noticed that the Zamboni driver was driving erratically and crashing hard into the boards on the side of the rink as he cleared the ice between periods. The driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, after testing indicated that he had a blood alcohol level that was over three times the legal limit. When the Zamboni driver appeared in court, his attorney tried to argue that a Zamboni is not a vehicle, but the judge did not agree and the man was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

In Kansas, a person may not operate or attempt to operate any vehicle while they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. As the situation from North Dakota illustrates, it is important that people understand what a vehicle is, so that they can know whether their activities fall within the range of conduct that is prohibited by Kansas’s drunk driving laws. Some types of vehicles are obvious, like the cars, trucks, buses, SUVs, motorcycles, and tractor trailers that you see on the road every day. However, since the Kansas statutes define the term “vehicle” as “a device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks”, there are many other devices or modes of transportation which could be considered vehicles.

The aforementioned definition of “vehicle” would appear to exclude bicycles, because they are powered by humans. However, individual municipalities within the state are free to adopt their own versions of Kansas traffic laws. There are at least some municipalities which have amended the statutory language so that it would include bicycles, so it is possible to be charged with DUI while you are riding a bicycle, at least in some places within Kansas. Since the local laws in Kansas may vary as to what constitutes a vehicle, the easiest way to avoid being charged with DUI is to avoid being in control of any method of transportation after consuming alcohol.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, you are likely very concerned about the impact that those charges may have on your life right now, as well as in the future. Since a DUI conviction can have such a big impact on so many areas of your life, it is important that you seek help from a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. A Kansas DUI defense attorney can give you the best possible defense against DUI charges, and they can often find ways to reduce or eliminate the negative consequences associated with those charges. To learn more, please call (316) 264-1548.