Can You Get a DUI on a Golf Cart?

How DUI laws apply to driving a golf cart while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law

Everyone knows it's illegal to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But can you get a DUI for driving a golf cart while drunk or high on drugs? Under the laws of most states, you can get a DUI on a golf cart.

Getting a DUI on a Golf Cart

Many states have laws that impose specific requirements and restrictions on the operation of golf carts. However, anyone operating a golf cart must also abide by the rules of the road that apply to all motor vehicles—including laws that prohibit driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Generally, a person can get a DUI for operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while actually impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, state laws differ in regard to specifically where driving under the influence is illegal. Some states prohibit driving under the influence everywhere in the state, while the DUI laws of other states the DUI apply only to public roadways and private properties that are open to the public.

So, while a golf cart normally qualifies as a "motor vehicle," it's possible that the DUI laws of some states might not apply to private golf courses that aren't open to the general public.

Golf Cart DUI Penalties

In terms of penalties, there's normally no difference between a DUI in a golf cart and a DUI in a car. The range of penalties a convicted motorist faces depends on the number of prior DUI convictions he or she has and the circumstances of the case.

For a first conviction, a person might be looking at fines ranging from about $500 to $2,500, up to a year in jail (but usually no mandatory jail time), and a license suspension of six months to a year. And for a second or subsequent offense, the penalties are usually more severe and may include mandatory time in jail. Anyone caught with open alcoholic beverages in a golf cart might also get cited for an open container violation.

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