What is a Vehicle for DUI Purposes in Illinois?
According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, in order to be guilty of a DUI, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving or were in actual physical control of a vehicle. In a recent post, I discussed what it meant to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, but that begs the question of, what is considered a vehicle for DUI purposes?
Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, a vehicle is every device which allows for a person or object to be transported on a highway (which includes roads as well as what we typically think of as a highway), not including devices powered by humans, that run on tracks, or snowmobiles. For example, a car would be considered a vehicle—it is used to transport people and objects, drives on highways and roads, isn't powered by humans, doesn't run on tracks, and isn't a snowmobile. Likewise, a truck, a motorcycle, a tractor, moped, and a scooter will also meet this definition. You will notice that there is no requirement that the vehicle have a motor—even a horse can meet this definition!
This definition also deals with most all-terrain vehicles and off-highway motorcycles, better known as ATVs and dirt bikes. Therefore, an ATV or dirt bike would also be considered a vehicle for DUI purposes. A bicycle, on the other hand, would not be considered a vehicle for DUI purposes, as while it can operate on a highway, it is powered by a human peddling the bicycle. And while a snowmobile isn't considered a vehicle under this definition, you can be charged for Operating a snowmobile While Under the Influence (OWI) under the Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act. Finally, a car is still considered a vehicle even if it is not drivable unless it has been certified as a junk vehicle or it is reduced to a state where it cannot be repaired to an operable state.
The State needs to prove that you were operating a vehicle in order for you to be found guilty of a DUI. While this will often be easily met, there are numerous other grounds upon which to fight the DUI charge. In order for you to be guilty of a DUI, the State would need to prove that that 1) you were using a vehicle 2) in the state of Illinois 3) while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Successfully challenging any one of these will mean that you will not be found guilty. We can also challenge the grounds for the stop itself.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you can rely on the skilled representation of the DUI attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. We have over a decade of experience handling all sorts of DUI cases and we will fight to win your case.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, DUI attorney