CO DUI: Do You Have to Be Driving a Car?

DUI charges occur when someone operating a motor vehicle is accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Colorado law expands the definition of what it means to be accused of a DUI. As it turns out, you don’t even have to be driving a car to garner an accusation.

Yes, that’s right – you could be using a different means of conveyance and still get slapped with a DUI charge in Colorado. That’s why it’s vital to understand what the law says about the circumstances under which a DUI can occur, so you don’t find yourself in court trying to muster a defense against one. Here is what you need to know.

DUI Law in Colorado

Anyone who drives a vehicle or motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in Colorado commits the crime of driving under the influence, commonly referred to as a DUI.

The law defines a motor vehicle as a vehicle that is propelled by something other than the power of your muscles. The only exception is a vehicle that is on rails. But the law goes one step further and defines what a vehicle is, as well, calling it anything on tracks or wheels that is able to move from place to place – not exactly a specific definition.

So, it is completely possible to be charged with driving under the influence while operating any type of wheeled vehicle.

Ways to Get a DUI In Colorado

Aside from driving a car or truck on the roads, you can get a DUI in these other scenarios:

Riding a Bike

If you ride your bike places after you’ve been drinking, don’t be surprised if the police pull you over and give you a DUI. It may seem a little weird, but law enforcement has a reason for doing this. They don’t what someone who is impaired operating any type of device in traffic. It’s dangerous to the cyclist and anyone else on the road.

Driving a Boat

Of course, driving a speedboat while impaired can get you in trouble with the law – that makes sense. But you can also get waterway DUIs when operating other devices, such as jet skis or any other type of watercraft.

Riding a Segway

Segways aren’t exactly something you see on the street every day, and their 15 minutes of fame may be coming to a close. However, it’s important to know that operating one of these when you’ve been drinking is illegal.

A Few More DUI Facts

You may think none of the above circumstances will ever apply to you, but there are some other ways you can get a DUI that has nothing to do with driving a vehicle. Some of these scenarios are outlined below.

Denver DUI Lawyer


You can be charged with a DUI for sitting in the driver’s seat even when not driving the car because all the police need is probable cause – the belief you were going to operate the vehicle.

It’s not common, but you can also get a DUI charge for riding a lawnmower, go-kart, golf cart, or even a horse (it’s happened!)

The more you know about the law, the more power you have. You can avoid a DUI charge under unusual circumstances this way, but if you do run into trouble, then an experienced lawyer is what you need for the best outcome.

About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.