Oklahoma man accused of driving drunk on tractor

Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-man-accused-of-driving-drunk-on-tractor/article/3614956#ixzz1bIRarQ3z

A Sapulpa gentleman, Mr. Ellenburg, was arrested today for operating a tractor on a public roadway while supposedly under the influence of alcohol. The opinion of his impairment came from the arresting officer, at least according to the article, based in large part upon the simple fact that tractor driver smelled of alcohol.

As you might expect, I perhaps read this story very differently from many. You see, while this event probably made a easy day for a beat writer – a relatively funny, interesting, typically Oklahoma story – I’d file a pretty quick motion to dismiss the whole thing. Here’s my reasoning, and granted I could be wrong, but I’m probably not.

Let’s begin at the beginning:

In order to be found guilty of the crime of aggravated DUI in Oklahoma a person must first be proven to have been operating or in actual physical control of a “motor vehicle” under the influence. Basic, right? Rule Number 1 – Numero Uno. One might think that a tractor is obviously a motor vehicle – it moves under it’s own power right? My friends this is Oklahoma, tractors should probably be in our state seal somewhere along with a football – we are an agricultural state – always have been and our laws reflect that. In this news story, as in most issues where proof is important, accepted definitions of what something is (No Bill Clinton jokes here please) really matters:

State Statute tells us:

Title 47. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 1- Definitions of Words and Phrases
Section 1-134 – Motor Vehicle
B. As used in this title, the term “motor vehicle” shall not include:

1. Implements of husbandry, as defined in Section 1-125 of this title;

Now, So we turn our attention to this one:

Title 47. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 1- Definitions of Words and Phrases
Section 1-125 – Implement of Husbandry

Every device, whether it is self-propelled, designed and adapted so as to be used exclusively for agricultural, horticultural or livestock-raising operations and, in either case, not subject to registration if operated upon the highways.

So what we have here, drawing solely from the article (which likely came from the police report or an interview with some police representative with knowledge of the story), is the arrest of a man, on a tractor, who may have had a bit to drink. If you’ve made it to this point in the article, I think it could be argued that Mr. Ellenburg COMMITTED NO CRIME under our current laws. In fairness (I know that my critics will say that fairness is unbecoming in a lawyer, but…), if it were found that the tractor in question was a yard tractor like I have in my shed outside, my discussion of husbandry might be misplaced though someone would have to be pretty convincing to change my mind.

All joking aside, while this news story gained some attention due to its novelty, here’s hoping that Mr. Ellenburg will hires the right lawyer for this case…

Jeff Sifers
Attorney at Law


There really is a Sifers Law Difference in DUI Defense!

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(405) 232-3384

I hate this part. Here comes the yada, yada, yada:


The above should not be considered legal advice and is solely the opinion of the author. The material on this site is made available with the understanding that The Sifers Law Firm is not engaged in providing professional advice to the reader. Before relying on material on the site users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their purposes and should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular issue.

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