The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Been Getting DUI's, Living In An Amish Paradise

An Amish man was arrested on DUI charges in Paradise, PA, last December.

Pennsylvania DUI attorneys might be familiar with drunk driving as it relates to cars, trucks and even tractors.

But drunk driving behind the wheel of an Amish buggy?

In December of last year, an Amish man in Lancaster County was pulled over when his moving buggy was straddling the center line of the road. The buggy was moving at a walking pace, according to the Lancaster Police. At the reins was 22-year old Elmer Stolzfoos Fisher, of Paradise, PA.

Fisher was slumped over in the buggy, asleep at the reins, while his horse and cart were moving at an incremental pace. An odd sight indeed, as it caught the eye of an off-duty police officer.  

Upon conducting a breathalyzer test of Fisher, police found his blood-alcohol content to be 0.18, which is more than twice the legal limit for drivers. 

But is an Amish buggy really a "vehicle" under Pennsylvania drunk driving laws? Is this an area PA DUI attorneys should begin reading up on? 

According to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, a vehicle is:

"every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon rails or tracks."

Furthermore, Pennsylvania drunk driving law speaks only of the operation of a "vehicle" and not necessarily a "motor vehicle".  

So is it fair to say that drunk buggying could be prosecuted under drunk driving statutes? A buggy certainly fits the definition of a "vehicle".  

And technically, if a vehicle is "any device" that could be used for highway transport, then what about the motorized La-Z-Boy chair, driven in Minnesota last year by Dennis LeRoy Anderson, while he was drunk at the seat? In that case, it may have even been a "motor vehicle"!

Related Resources