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Can You Get A Dui On A Horse In Wisconsin

Can You Get A DUI On A Horse In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is known for its beautiful landscapes and strong equestrian culture. With its vast rural areas and numerous horse trails, it’s not uncommon to see people riding horses on the roads. However, this raises an interesting question: can you get a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) on a horse in Wisconsin? In this article, we will explore the legalities surrounding this issue and provide valuable insights into the topic.

The Definition of a DUI

Before delving into the specifics of DUI laws in Wisconsin, it’s important to understand what constitutes a DUI. Generally, a DUI refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, the definition of a “motor vehicle” can vary from state to state.

In Wisconsin, the definition of a motor vehicle, as stated in the Wisconsin Statutes, includes “every vehicle which is self-propelled.” This definition explicitly excludes horses, as they are not self-propelled. Therefore, technically speaking, riding a horse while under the influence would not fall under the DUI laws in Wisconsin.

Exceptions and Caveats

While riding a horse under the influence may not be considered a DUI in Wisconsin, it’s important to note that there are exceptions and caveats to this rule. Law enforcement officers have the discretion to charge individuals with other offenses if their behavior poses a danger to themselves or others, even if they are not operating a motor vehicle.

For example, if a person is riding a horse recklessly or causing a disturbance while intoxicated, they could be charged with disorderly conduct or public intoxication. These charges carry their own penalties and consequences, separate from DUI laws.

Case Studies and Precedents

While there is no specific case law in Wisconsin addressing DUIs on horses, there have been cases in other states that provide some insight into how courts may handle similar situations.

In 2009, a man in Colorado was charged with a DUI while riding his horse. The court ultimately dismissed the charges, stating that the DUI laws in Colorado only applied to motor vehicles. However, the man was still charged with other offenses, including animal cruelty, as his horse was injured during the incident.

This case highlights the importance of responsible behavior while riding a horse, even if it may not result in a DUI charge. It is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of both the rider and the animal.


1. Can you get a DUI on a horse in any state?

No, the laws regarding DUIs on horses vary from state to state. Some states have specific laws that include horses under the definition of a motor vehicle, while others do not.

2. Are there any penalties for riding a horse under the influence in Wisconsin?

While there are no specific penalties for riding a horse under the influence in Wisconsin, individuals can still face charges for disorderly conduct or public intoxication if their behavior poses a danger to themselves or others.

3. Can you get a DUI on other non-motorized vehicles?

In some states, DUI laws may apply to other non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles or scooters. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your state to understand the potential consequences.

4. What are the penalties for a DUI in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the penalties for a DUI can vary depending on factors such as prior offenses, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether there were any injuries or fatalities involved. Penalties may include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even jail time.

5. How can I ensure the safety of myself and my horse while riding?

To ensure the safety of yourself and your horse while riding, it is crucial to avoid consuming alcohol or drugs that impair your judgment or coordination. Additionally, always follow traffic laws, wear appropriate safety gear, and be mindful of your surroundings.

6. Are there any initiatives promoting responsible horse riding in Wisconsin?

Yes, Wisconsin has various organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting responsible horse riding. These organizations provide education, training, and resources to riders to ensure the safety and well-being of both the riders and the horses.


While riding a horse under the influence may not result in a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it is important to remember that responsible behavior is crucial for the safety of both the rider and the animal. Although the specific laws may vary from state to state, it is always best to prioritize the well-being of yourself, your horse, and others when engaging in any activity involving animals. Understanding the laws and potential consequences in your state is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while riding a horse.