DUI on a Motorized Cooler?

Posted By Thomas V. Wallin || 17-Aug-2011

California DUI This story should be filed under the category of strange but true. An Australian man is facing a driving under the influence charges after being caught driving a motorized cooler box through a beachside resort town, Fox News reports.

Christopher Ian Petrie, 23, faces charges of driving under the influence and driving without a license after police caught him on the makeshift vehicle, which was powered by a 50cc engine.

Petrie's lawyers won an adjournment from magistrate John Parker as they sought to establish "whether a motorized esky [cooler box] was in fact a motor vehicle."

The magistrate was apparently amused by device and inquired with Petrie about his cooler box's performance.

"How much beer can it hold?" he asked the defendant. Petrie told the court the cooler box could hold "at least a couple of cartons."

What if this DUI arrest took place in California?

Under California Vehicle Code §670, a vehicle is defined as: "A device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks."

In light of the statute, the general rule is that any device with a motor that has been designed to be driven on highways is a vehicle. Therefore, it is possible that someone "driving" a motorized cooler on a California road could be arrested for driving under the influence.

While an experienced California DUI attorney could certainly challenge the arrest, it seems to make more sense to stick with a non-motorized cooler.  

If you or someone you love has been arrested for drunk driving, be sure to consult with an experienced California DUI Defense attorneyas soon as possible.