New Jersey DUI Attorney Reminds You Not to Drive Any Vehicle or Machinery While Under the Influence


Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, we usually discuss how you can be arrested and charged with driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  What many people forget, however, is that the law also prohibits the operation of other types of vehicles while under the effects of drinking or drug use.  For instance, this blog has previously discussed that boating or operating a commercial truck while drunk is illegal.

In fact, New Jersey laws generally do not allow persons to drive or operate any type of vehicle while impaired, whether as the result of liquor, narcotics, or marijuana.  However, different laws may apply depending on what type of vehicle is being operated – and these laws will affect what penalties apply upon conviction or whether the standard .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit applies.  If you or someone you know is charged or arrested for a DUI/DWI while operating any type of vehicle, you should contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer immediately who will be able to explain what your rights are and what penalties you could be facing.  A dedicated DUI attorney will also be able to present a defense on your behalf in court or may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

Definition of a Motor Vehicle

State law, N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, defines both motor vehicles and vehicles.  Motor vehicles and vehicles under the drunk driving statute include all transportation devices other than those that are human powered, such as bicycles or skateboards, and also does not include motorized bicycles or trains.  Therefore, the law against drunk driving includes commercial vehicles, farm tractors, motorcycles, and all manner of trucks and buses.  Other types of transportation devices, such as snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or scooters are either completely excluded by case law or are have their own specialized intoxicated operation rules, and the way the various laws are affected by the type of vehicle being operated, or where it is being operated, can be complicated.

Mopeds or Motorized Bicycles

Mopeds, for instance, are controlled by N.J.S.A. 39:4-14.3g, which prohibits driving any motorized bicycle under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, or a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug.”  The same penalties apply to moped DUIs as to other vehicles, and someone charged with driving a moped while drunk will need to provide a breath sample and can possibly face the loss of driving privileges for a period of time depending on the specific circumstances.  Different consequences or sentencing enhancements, however, may apply to driving a moped with a suspended license, because it is not considered a motor vehicle.


Normal, man-powered bicycles are not considered vehicles under the drunk driving statute.  Therefore, contrary to popular belief, a person cannot be found guilty of violating New Jersey’s prohibition against drunk driving, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. In State v. Johnson and State v. Machuzak, the New Jersey Appellate Division made clear that a defendant’s operation of a non-motorized pedal-type bicycle while intoxicated could not legally result in a conviction for driving while intoxicated, because the law specifically and unambiguously applies to motorized vehicles only.

Construction Vehicles

Recently, a New Jersey man was charged with operating a backhoe while intoxicated.  The individual was stopped after a police officer witnessed him driving the construction vehicle while drinking beer and swerving on the road.  The officer smelled alcohol on the man’s breath, and he was charged after being found with open containers in the vehicle, failing his sobriety test and admitting to the police officer that he didn’t have a valid license.

Depending on the specific vehicle, a construction vehicle may fit the standard definition of a motorized vehicle, or it can also possibly be considered a commercial vehicle.  If it is a commercial vehicle, then other penalties can apply, including permanent loss of a commercial driver’s license.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Have Been Arrested or Charged for Drunk Driving

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, regardless of the type of vehicle, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who will explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation.  If you go to court, an experienced lawyer will also argue on your behalf and may be able to have the charges dropped entirely.  Having an experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.