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State v. Carr - 99-2209 ( La. 05/26/00), 761 So. 2d 1271

Rule:

"Other means of conveyance" under La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98A(1) does not include a bicycle.

Facts:

Defendant John Carr was charged with violating La. R.S. 14:98, Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, after police arrested him for riding his bicycle on Louisiana Highway 64 in an intoxicated condition. Carr filed a motion to quash, arguing that La. R.S. 14:98 was not sufficiently clear so as to put the public on notice that riding a bicycle while intoxicated could result in criminal penalties. The trial court, relying on State v. Guidry, 467 So. 2d 156, agreed, and granted defendant's motion to quash the bill of information. The court of appeal, expressly rejecting the Guidry court's reasoning, reversed, finding that a bicycle was an "other means of conveyance" under La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98A(1). The State appealed.

Issue:

Did La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98A(1) apply to riding a bicycle while intoxicated, thereby justifying defendant’s conviction?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of Louisiana held that the term "other means of conveyance" was not defined within the statute, and use of the term "other means of motorized conveyance" in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:98J created an ambiguity as to whether § 14:98(A)(1) was intended to include bicycles. According to the Court, the intent to include bicycles in § 14:98(A)(1) could not be inferred from the fact that former statutes had expressly criminalized riding a bicycle on public roads while intoxicated. Because the statute was subject to two reasonable interpretations, it was interpreted in favor of defendant, and the trial court's judgment quashing the bill of information that charged defendant with driving while intoxicated (DWI) was reinstated.

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