Can You Get A DUI In A Wheelchair?

man in wheelchair traffic

There are a lot of questions surrounding DUI law, and one of the most common is whether or not you can get a DUI in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward, as the laws vary from state to state.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what the law says about DUI in a wheelchair, as well as some of the possible defenses you may be able to use if you’re charged with a DUI in a wheelchair.

What You'll Learn...

What is the Law on DUI in a Wheelchair?

As with other drunk driving charges, a person can be convicted of a DUI if they’re operating a vehicle and their blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. While it may seem pretty clear that this should be illegal, in some states it’s not.

Those in wheelchairs would technically be allowed to drive while intoxicated in these states.

In states where DUI in the wheelchair is illegal, you can still get arrested for driving while intoxicated even if your wheelchair has been modified to allow you to operate it easily. 

Having a modified wheelchair doesn’t mean that you’re immune from DUI charges. However, there are situations where you can use your wheelchair as a defense against DUI charges.

Possible Defenses for a DUI in a Wheelchair

While some people may wonder whether they’ll be able to fight a DUI charge in a wheelchair, many will also wonder if there are any defenses that may help. As mentioned above, it’s essential to know that the law varies from state to state regarding DUI in a wheelchair.

For your charges to be dropped, you could argue that you were legally using your wheelchair at the time of your arrest.

One example of this would be using an electronic device in your wheelchair to travel safely. You could also argue that you were only operating the vehicle for legitimate purposes. This means that the court will consider whether or not you have an actual need for your wheelchair and if you’re capable of safely doing so.

Consequences of a DUI in a Wheelchair

The penalties for a DUI in a wheelchair charge vary from state to state. In some states, you could be charged with both a DUI and driving while intoxicated in a wheelchair. DUI laws usually carry penalties such as fines and community service.

However, other felony charges may apply if injuries or fatalities result from your drunk driving incident.

How Does the Law Vary from State to State?

The laws surrounding DUI in a wheelchair have several differences from state to state. In some states, getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is illegal even if you’re in a wheelchair.

However, this rule also has exceptions because some states allow people confined to their chairs to operate motor vehicles with very limited abilities.

Furthermore, some states impose stricter penalties for drunk driving in a wheelchair than others. For example, if you get arrested for a DUI in your wheelchair in Arizona, you could be looking at jail time and expensive fines.

In California, on the other hand, you could only face probation or fines. This is just one example of how these laws can vary significantly depending on where they’re applied.


As you can see, the law on DUI in a wheelchair is complicated and varies from state to state. If you’re facing charges for DUI in a wheelchair, you should contact a criminal attorney to find out your specific legal situation.

While some states have argued that being in a wheelchair doesn’t make it more difficult for you to drive, many other things can impact your ability to drive. If you feel like this is the case, you should speak with a criminal attorney about possible best defense strategies.

If you’re charged with a DUI while in a wheelchair, you must take action as soon as possible. Waiting until your case is in court could mean having your license revoked or facing additional charges. So if you think that driving in a wheelchair makes it more difficult to be careful on the road, reach out to an experienced lawyer today.