What Is Considered a “Vehicle” Under Ohio’s DUI Law

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Vehicle Defined Under Ohio Law

Ohio’s DUI law, R.C. § 4511.19, prohibits anyone from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs in their blood, breath, or urine.  Many people, understandably, think that this prohibition applies to “motor vehicles” such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.

However, “vehicle” is defined much more broadly under Ohio law.  R.C. 4511.01(A) defines “vehicle” as “every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway.”  The definition includes four-wheelers, snowmobiles, mopeds, dirt bikes, and farm equipment all fall under the definition of a “vehicle.”

There are some modes of transportation that are excluded from the definition.  For example, a “vehicle” does not include wheelchairs, motorized or manually operated, or other electric personal mobility devices.  Furthermore, the law excludes devices moved by human power, except bicycles.  So, tricycles, unicycles, wheelbarrows, roller skates, and skateboards are not considered vehicles.  One court in Ohio has even ruled that horses are exempted and are not vehicles for purposes of DUI.

Recently in Columbus, a company introduced the “Cycle Tavern,” a human powered, multi-wheeled cycle that is designed for patrons to pedal their way around Columbus with frequent stops at local bars.  Because the “Cycle Tavern” is moved by human power and is not, strictly speaking, a bicycle, it would most likely fall outside the statutory definition of a “vehicle.”

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Columbus and have questions about whether your vehicle is actually a “vehicle,” contact a Knowledgeable DUI Attorney at James D. Owen, LLC.