After a cold, snowy, and long winter, the weather is finally improving which, for many Minnesotans, means it’s time to dust off their golf clubs and hit the course. Many Minnesotans take the 4+ hours they spend on the golf course as an opportunity to enjoy some cocktails with their friends. Unfortunately, this alcohol consumption on the course can lead to, criminal charges, injuries and lawsuits. So this begs the question, “What are the legal implications of drinking and golfing?”
Is a golf cart a motor vehicle for DWI purposes?
- Under Minnesota Law, if the vehicle you are behind is self propelled, then it is a motor vehicle. So unless you are using a push cart, you can be charged with a DWI. This definition of a motor vehicle includes electric, gas, solar or any other vehicle that is not propelled by the rider.
What if I am on a private course?
- It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired if you are anywhere within the boarder of Minnesota; this includes private property and private golf courses. The State Legislature has determined that a person driving or operating a motor vehicle (Golf Cart) while intoxicated is a menace and a hazard to society. Because of this societal impact, the courts have determined that they can regulate conduct even on private property. See State v. Carroll, 225 Minn. 384, 386, 31 N.W.2d 44, 45 (1948)
Can the driver of the golf cart be liable for another’s injuries?
- Minnesota law has stated that the driver of a golf cart may be liable for injuries caused to either the passenger or some other patron on the golf course as a result of the driver’s negligent operation of the golf cart. The driver of a golf cart thus has the same liability as the driver of a car or truck on the public roadway.
Enjoy the summer and your time on the golf course with your friends, but stay safe and informed during all of your summer activities. If you or a loved one has questions about your legal rights while on a golf course, contact Kevin Sieben law today.