Traverse City Man on Scooter Charged With Drunk Driving

Drunk driving Michigan

Can you be charged with drunk driving even when you aren’t driving a car?

If you are riding your lawn mower and enjoying a few beers, can you be charged with drunk driving?

It is the time of year when Michigan Police amp up their efforts in catching drunk drivers. If you thought you would be safe by driving your lawn mower or scooter instead of your car after you have had a few drinks, you may have reason to think again.

Over a week ago, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Michigan Court of Appeals has reinstated charges against a Traverse City man. William Lyon admits to being drunk while riding his four-wheeled motorized scooter through traffic on a public road.

According to an article by Michigan Live, in the fall of 2013, Lyon was thrown out of a Traverse City Save-A-Lot. He then hopped onto his motorized scooter, open a beer and start driving on South Garfield Avenue toward a Burger King.

The article describes that Lyon, while driving the scooter, was weaving in and out of traffic. He caused traffic to “snarl”. Then the Traverse City Police pulled him over.

During the stop, Lyon failed a field sobriety test, admitted to being intoxicated, and was arrested.

During the trial, Lyon’s defense attorney argued that because the scooter is not a motor vehicle, it shouldn’t be held to the same rules. The case was dismissed.

However, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Conney appealed the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Court of Appeals gave the case back to the county court for a decision.

The appeal court ruled that because the scooter was driven on one of Traverse City’s main roads, that it would not be exempt from the motor vehicle laws.

Michigan Man Charged With OWI While Driving a Lawn Mower

Roy Walton of Bloomfield Township was charged with an OWI for driving his riding lawn mower to a local drug store. According to, the police notice the lawn mower parked outside the drug store. The police watched Walton leave the store and drive his lawn mower down the sidewalk. The Police then stopped him and arrested him for drinking and driving.

What to Expect From a DUI Charge

Remember, to be charged with a DUI or and OWI in Michigan, your blood alcohol level must be .08 or above. For some people, that could be 1 or 2 drinks.

If your BAC (blood alcohol level) is over .17, you are likely to face harsher penalties. Below are penalties for drinking and driving according to the Michigan State Police.

If BAC is below .17 and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to 180 days license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver’s license

If BAC is .17 or higher and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to one year license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver’s license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver’s license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.

For more about what to expect in Michigan, please see: What to Expect When You Get a DUI in Michigan.


The above penalties are for first time offenders. In William Lyon’s case, this was his third offense, and he now faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

If you are facing a DUI charge or an OWI charge, you do not and should not face the charges alone. Contact my office today to find out more about how I can help.

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