Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Take the first step in securing a successful defense.
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Can I be charged with DUI/DWI in Utah for riding a horse?

It sounds like a strange question.  But strange things sometimes happen in the criminal justice system.  The question of whether a person can be convicted of DUI/DWI in Utah for riding a horse while intoxicated was raised in the 1980's.  Two defendants were initially charged and convicted of DUI charges stemming from an accident that happened in Davis County.  But through the efforts of a Utah criminal defense attorney, the Utah Supreme Court ultimately determined that a person could not be lawfully convicted of DUI for riding a horse while intoxicated.

According to the Utah Supreme Court, see, State v. Blowers, 717 P.2d 1321 (Utah 1986), two individuals were charged with DUI after allegations were made that the two had been riding horses while drunk.   Prosecutors alleged that the two individuals spent the afternoon drinking beer, then got on their horses and began riding down the street.  There was some dispute as to whether the two individuals had been racing, or the horses had been spooked by two small boys.  But prosecutor's claimed that one of the rider's sisters had fallen from one of the horses and suffered a severe concussion.  Both individuals were charged with, and convicted of, DUI for driving a "vehicle" while under the influence of alcohol.

Both defendants appealed their conviction, on grounds that their convictions violated Constitutional Due Process protections.  The Due Process protections afforded a criminal defendant in the Utah criminal justice system require that a defendant be given notice of what conduct is prohibited by a criminal statute.  The Utah Supreme Court determined that the term "vehicle" as used in the Utah statutes did not adequately put a person on notice that he could be prosecuted for riding a horse while drunk.  Prosecuting and convicting a defendant for riding a horse while drunk was therefore determined to be a violation of the defendant's Constitutional Due Process rights.  The Supreme Court reversed the conviction.

The Court did leave open, however, the question of whether a person "driving" a horse-drawn carriage or wagon might be subject to prosecution for DUI under Utah law.

If you have been charged or cited with DUI in Utah, it is important to promptly contact a criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.  Based in Salt Lake City, we provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.  Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

*Note:  The Blowers case was decided under Utah's then-applicable DUI law, Utah Code section 41-6-44.  The Utah legislature has since amended Utah's DUI statute, and renumbered it as section 41-6a-502. It is likely that the Supreme Court's rationale would still apply to the new law and prohibit prosecution for DUI in cases involving a person riding a horse while drunk.  But, for both legal and practical safety reasons, the author of this page strongly discourages anyone from riding a horse while drunk.  It is simply not a good idea - for either the horse or the rider.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.