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Can You Get a DUI on a Golf Cart? What You Need to Know

Did you know that you can get a DUI/ DWI in North Carolina for driving a golf cart on a public road after drinking? It’s true! Golf carts can provide a fun way to get around your neighborhood, but it’s essential to know the law before hitting the streets. Let’s look at when you can get a DUI on a golf cart and how the law works in North Carolina.

If you’re facing DWI charges, whether in a golf cart or other vehicle, contact us for a free consultation about your case. 

Can You Get a DUI On a Golf Cart?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes. These charges can include prison, fines, court and attorney fees, probation, and a lifelong criminal offender record that the state will never erase. A DUI/ DWI is a lifelong criminal conviction that affects you long after serving time or paying your fines.

Vehicle Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, you must obey the same laws when driving a golf cart as you would when driving a car! This means wearing seatbelts and using turn signals. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DWI) is illegal while driving:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • SUVs
  • Boats
  • Bikes
  • Mopeds
  • Golf carts

You may be able to avoid criminal charges by not driving while impaired on a public road or in a parking lot. But remember that you can get a DWI for sitting in a public parking lot in your vehicle (or moped, golf cart, etc.) while impaired if the vehicle is on even if you aren’t driving!

The same laws that apply when you are driving or parked in a car in a public area also apply to golf carts

However, in order to be charged criminally with DWI you have to be on a public street, highway, or parking lot. Therefore, if you were charged with DWI while driving a golf cart or other vehicle, but were solely on private property, you are not guilty of a DWI. Experienced attorneys at the Scharff Law Firm know how to analyze your case for all possible defenses.  

When Can I Face DWI Charges?

Drunk driving in NC refers to operating any type of vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of:

  • 0.08% or higher for drivers who are 21 years and older
  • 0.04% for commercial drivers or prior DWI recipients
  • Any alcohol concentration for drivers under the age of 21

Regardless of your BAC level, you can be charged and possibly convicted of DWI if you were “appreciably impaired.” 

DWI charges can also result from driving under the influence of drugs. Any drug impairing a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely could bring DWI charges. Under NC law, if you have any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in your system while driving, then you are automatically considered driving while impaired. 

You could even be considered DWI after taking prescribed medications. Legal medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and other side effects that may impair a driver too much for safe driving. You can receive a DWI charge while on any type of impairing drug or while using any intoxicating substance.

Penalties for DWI in North Carolina

There are many consequences related to DWI charges and convictions. Many of those consequences relate to your ability to drive legally. For instance, refusing to take a chemical BAC test after being arrested for suspicion of DWI can result in a suspension of your driver’s license for one year, regardless of whether you are later convicted of the DWI or not!

If you are convicted of a first-time DWI, you will lose your right to drive for one year. The suspensions are longer if it’s not your first offense. You lose your right to drive for four years after a second offense, and permanently lose driving rights if you have three or more DWIs.

In addition to driver’s license suspensions, DWI penalties may include these consequences:

  • Thousands of dollars in court costs and fines
  • Possible or mandatory jail time
  • Probation
  • Alcohol abstinence through an alcohol monitoring device
  • Community service requirements
  • Enrollment in alcohol or substance abuse education courses
  • Higher car insurance premiums
  • Additional penalties from the Department of Transportation

The state of North Carolina’s penalties depend on many factors, including, but not limited to your:

  • BAC level at the time of the arrest
  • Number of prior offenses 
  • Driver’s license classification
  • Age
  • Aggravating and mitigating factors

An aggravated DWI is extremely serious and occurs any time someone has three or more grossly aggravating factors such as prior convictions, a child in the car, and/or seriously injuring someone, to name a few. The penalties for a first-time aggravated DWI are up to $10,000 in fines, 12 to 36 months in jail, and monitored sobriety for four months after release.

We Can Help

Contact us at Scharff Law Firm if you’re facing DWI charges in North Carolina. We can help you fight for your future. It’s critical you have an attorney who understands the law and is willing to fight for you by holding the State to their burden and taking your case to trial. We will review your case with you and discuss how we can attack the State’s case, putting you in the best position to avoid a conviction and keep your driver’s license privileges.

Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your options. We offer a free initial consultation. Find out how we can help you protect your future.