A Louisiana man, keen to avoid getting a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge, allegedly stole a Walmart motorized shopping cart to drive himself from bar to bar, NBC News reports. Brice Kendall Williams, 32, now faces felony charges related to pilfering the cart instead of the much less serious DWI charge.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says that early Sunday morning, police got a complaint that someone had driven a motorized shopping cart to a bar and parked it in a regular parking space, between two vehicles. When police arrived at the bar, they interviewed a security guard, who led them to Williams.
When police interviewed Williams, he allegedly told them that he had been drinking at a different bar when he decided to mix things up and go to another one down the road. However, he wanted to avoid getting a DWI charge, so instead of driving his own vehicle, he instead allegedly took a motorized shopping cart, of the kind made available to people with disabilities. He allegedly took the cart from a Houma Walmart and then drove it to the second bar.
In his bid to avoid DWI charges, Wililams instead got himself a much more serious charge: that of unauthorized use of a “moveable,” which is a felony in Louisiana.
According to New Orleans attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter, under Louisiana law, theft of a “moveable” is the taking of another’s moveable property without authorization, although without the intent to deprive the victim of it permanently. So for example, if you used your roommate’s car without permission, even if you only planned to use it to run and get some fast food and come back, you could be facing felony prison time. Specifically, if the “moveable” has a value of no more than $500, you could be fined $500 and spend six months behind bars. If the “moveable” is valued at more than $500, you could be facing a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison, even at hard labor.
Motorized shopping carts tend to retail for around $2,000-3,000.
Whether or not Williams was cited for DWI remains unclear. Louisiana’s DWI laws seem to be clear that you can be given the charge for driving any “means of conveyance,” be it a car or aircraft or boat, or anything else. In California, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, people have been cited for DWI for using rented motorized scooters, of the two-wheel variety, while drunk.