College students utilize any number of different transportation options when commuting from dormitory room to classroom. Some students use a car, a bicycle, a moped, or a motorcycle; and some have been known to travel by unicycle. But one particular Texas State University student has chosen to travel in a little pink Barbie Jeep. What brought her to this choice? A decision by her father to take away her car after a recent arrest for driving while intoxicated. Her father took away her full-sized Jeep after hearing about the arrest and instead gave her a bicycle, telling her that this was now her mode of transportation.
But instead of riding the bicycle, this student decided to purchase a toy Jeep on Craigslist and then send her father a photo of her in her new toy Jeep. Her father was surprised, but hoped that others on campus would take this as a warning to avoid drunk driving and its consequences. Strangely enough, adults driving pink Barbie Jeeps are not as unusual as you might think. A 40-year-old man in England was arrested for drunk driving while operating his 4-mph toy out in front of his home with a breath alcohol content twice the legal limit.
In Chicago and across the whole state of Illinois, driving a toy car is not a wise choice after a DUI. Let’s look at the laws in Illinois that relate to Driving While License Suspended or Revoked: when someone has had their license suspended or revoked for any reason, they are prohibited from driving a motorized vehicle of any sort. With a few exceptions (such as motorized wheelchairs), Illinois law defines a motor vehicle as any vehicle that can propel itself.
So it doesn’t matter if the vehicle can only travel 4 mph and a 90-year-old woman walking briskly could leave it in the dust. It doesn’t matter if it’s electric or gas-powered. It probably wouldn’t even matter if it was wound up with a giant rubber band or had a small gerbil that ran on a treadmill as its sole source of power. In Illinois, if it’s self-propelled (not moved by human power) then it’s probably considered a “motor vehicle” and you should stay out of it if your license is not valid.
Just as the man in England received a drunk driving charge for driving his pink toy car, the same could also happen to someone in Chicago (or anywhere in Illinois) as well. That’s because Illinois law makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise while in a vehicle. You don’t really even need to be moving or driving to be found guilty of DUI in Chicago—just being in or near a vehicle while drunk could be a problem—and you don’t even need to be on a public street for the law to apply. So the next time you think of giving your Barbie Jeep, lawnmower, or motorized unicycle a tune-up on your front lawn (while intoxicated), you might want to think twice. Illinois laws related to DUI and driving with suspended or revoked licenses are very strict.
If you’ve been arrested for improperly driving your Barbie Dream Car (or other vehicle), you could always call Ken. But calling an experienced DUI attorney is probably a better idea…Mitchell Sexner of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is a former Chicago traffic prosecutor who leads a team of experienced criminal/traffic/injury attorneys. If you’d like a free consultation about your particular case, contact the office 24 hours a day at (312) 644-0444.