Bad News For Barbie Jeep Joy Riders: Barbie Jeeping While Intoxicated Will Get You Jailed

Lowering the Bar recently blogged about a young college student who figured out a way to maintain style and mobility following an alcohol-related license suspension:

Tara Monroe is a college student in Texas who has gained some notoriety for her response to a DWI arrest in March. Monroe, whose “license was automatically suspended after [she refused] a breathalyzer test after a Waka Flocka concert,” then had to find some other way to get around. She has a bike, but “[r]iding a bike around campus sucks,” she noted. “Like, really sucks,” she added.

Left with no virtually no other choice, Ms. Monroe purchased a $60 Barbie convertible to drive around campus. Obviously, she draws the attention of other students, who apparently also take frequent photographs.

Barbie Jeep

There is basically no downside to this mode of transportation, right?  Drive around in electric pink glory, drawing the attention of everyone you encounter, pounding booze the whole way, all without consequences? Wrong. Cue the buzzkill lawyers with their “legal opinions.” Lowering the Bar apologizes for being the “bearer of bad news,” but adds that the pounding booze aspect of driving the Barbie car is “not a good idea”:

As many of you know by now, driving something unusual is your right as an American, but driving something unusual while intoxicated can still get you in legal trouble. That’s been true even for vehicles that arguably are not at all dangerous to anyone (e.g., Zamboni, wheelchair, inflatable raft, motorized beer cooler), and there’s no “ridiculous vehicle” exception (e.g., golf cart, motorized bar stool, Christmas parade float). In any event, it always comes down to what the state’s law provides.

Lowering the Bar goes on to examine Texas law on the issue and determines that Texas apparently frowns upon driving unusual vehicles while drinking, in that doing so is illegal. But aha! Apparently, “there are no Texas cases (yet) that address these laws in the specific context of Barbie jeeps” and apparently you can drink and joy ride in a Barbie Jeep to your heart’s content as long as [no one is harmed] and you “at least stay on private property.”

Our brief research tells us that you also can also be arrested for: “stealing a lawn mower while intoxicated. State v. Bombailey, No. E2003-00421-CCA-R3CD, 2004 WL 170350, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 28, 2004); [as noted by Lowering the Bar] “operating a riding lawn mower on a county road, apparently intoxicated” Williams v. State, No. 03-02-00751-CR, 2004 WL 34840, at *1 (Tex. App. Jan. 8, 2004); driving a bicycle while intoxicated. Velasquez v. Superior Court, 227 Cal. App. 4th 1471, 1478, 174 Cal. Rptr. 3d 541, 546 (2014), reh’g denied (Aug. 13, 2014), review denied (Oct. 22, 2014). However, the good news for Segway pub crawl participants is that “[t]he Minnesota Court of Appeals has concluded that operating a Segway while intoxicated does not violate Minnesota’s DWI statute.” Greenman v. Jessen, 787 F.3d 882, 891 (8th Cir. 2015). It is also worth noting that, while “driving a tricycle while intoxicated” may be fair game, one who is caught “driv[ing] onto a sidewalk, crush[ing] a child’s tricycle and driv[ing] off, seeming intoxicated” will likely not evade arrest. See Bagheri v. State, 119 S.W.3d 755, 762 n.4 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003); State v. Wallace, 539 So. 2d 123, 124 (La. Ct. App.) writ denied, 544 So. 2d 400 (La. 1989).

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