When most people think of OVI, they think of driving a regular car while intoxicated. However, in Ohio, you can get an OVI for operating all kinds of motorized vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. That includes golf carts.
Whether you use a golf cart to get around an actual golf course or to cruise around your neighborhood, you should never get behind the wheel while drunk. The police can arrest you, but you may be able to build a solid legal defense to get your charges thrown out.
Is a golf cart a vehicle?
Ultimately, the question is whether golf carts fall under Ohio's guidelines for "motor vehicles." Within Ohio's state laws, golf carts do fall under this jurisdiction, which is so broad that, in some cases, the vehicle does not even require a motor for a person to end up with an OVI charge.
Can a person get an OVI on private property?
Most people think OVIs remain on public roadways. However, the language used in Ohio's laws state that no one can operate a vehicle while intoxicated anywhere within the state. That means police can absolutely arrest someone on private property for OVI.
There can be some limitations to this. For example, the police may receive a report of a person operating a golf cart on private property while under the influence. The police may not be able to enter the property without a search warrant. Failing to follow property protocol for entering could be grounds for throwing the case out.
How can you fight the charges?
You may have grounds to fight such charges even if the police did everything right. For example, there have been cases in Ohio where the court reduced or threw out the charges due to the understanding a golf cart OVI is not as serious as an auto OVI. Your defense strategy will depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.