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Montana ad raises key issue: Can you be charged with DUI on a horse?

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Montana ad raises issue: Can you be charged with DUI on a horse?

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    A Montana public service TV ad called “Sober Friend” has raised a critical question, particularly for the wide-open West: Can you be charged with DUI for riding a horse while intoxicated?

    The issue is particularly timely after two men were arrested in Austin two weeks ago for doing just that, although the charge was later reduced to public intoxication.

    Helena Police Chief Troy McGee says he got many calls about the ad, which is from the Montana Department of Transportation’s Plan2Live campaign, especially from young people. “They absorbed the message,” he tells Helena’s Independent Record. “They got it.”

    And, he hastens to add, it is not illegal to ride a horse while intoxicated.

    According to Montana law, the Record says, DUI cases do not apply to vehicles that are moved by “animal power” nor to bicycles nor wheelchairs.

    Luke Berger, deputy Helena city attorney, tells the paper, however, that just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    “I wouldn’t recommend that anyone does that,” Berger tells the Record. “But as the law says, you can ride your horse after drinking.”

    See photos of: Montana

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