Hearing news of a Florida woman cited for driving drunk isn’t as shocking as learning what her mode of transportation was.
According to The Washington Post, Donna Byrne, 53, was spotted riding atop her horse down a busy highway. A passer-by notified authorities and said that Byrne looked confused and possibly in danger, according to the arrest affidavit quoted by the Post. The incident took place in Lakeland, about 30 miles east of Tampa.
Upon approaching Byrnes, officers noted that she smelled of alcohol, her eyes appeared to be red and watery, and she was staggering, the affidavit said.
According to police, her blood alcohol content (BAC) was double the legal limit, with one sample reading as high as .161. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
Defense attorneys can’t seem to agree as to whether the charges will stick or not, as laws vary from state to state.
According to the Post, a 1993 appellate court ruling in California’s People v. Fong found that people riding animals on the highway are subject to the same rules as the drivers of automobiles, meaning people must ride their animals at a reasonably safe speed and avoid reckless behavior.
The state of Montana says horseback riders can’t be arrested for driving under the influence, because the state’s law criteria for a vehicle in a DUI excludes devices moved by “animal power.”
Florida law states that people riding animals on roadways or shoulders are treated as pedestrians and therefore are not subject to the same laws as those in automobiles.
In addition to her DUI arrest, she is also facing charges of animal neglect for putting her horse in danger of being injured or killed.