Law Enforcement in Pinellas County Cracking Down on Golf Carts

Golf Cart arrests and fines are on the rise in Pinellas County, particularly with Golf Cart DUIs. Law enforcement are cracking down hard on golf cart-related violations, including:

  • DUIs
  • Unregistered carts
  • Carts committing traffic violations

Many misunderstandings come from how golf cart laws are defined. Most golf cart owners actually own a ‘Low-Speed Vehicle’, which has stricter regulations and laws than a regular, rental golf course cart.

If you’ve been arrested while driving a golf cart in Pinellas County, please contact our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys for a swift and aggressive response to save your future.

Why Is Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Golf Cart Crimes in Pinellas County?

As of 2022, Pinellas County has the most registered, street-legal golf carts in Florida. While they’ve become very popular, they’re also a nuisance for locals when used incorrectly. From holding up traffic to injuring pedestrians the police are keen to reduce the problems caused by the rise in golf carts.

The increase in focus is also likely a response to the former Tampa police chief’s golf cart controversy. Mary O’Connor and her husband were stopped by a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy near the gated community where they live, for using a golf cart on the street without a license plate.

O’Connor pleaded with the deputy to “let us go tonight”, flashing her badge. But body-cam footage later emerged, leading to O’Connor’s resignation.

Golf Cart Laws in Pinellas County

Please read below, taking care to identify the difference between a regular golf cart and an LSV golf cart.

  • If your cart does not exceed a speed of 20mph, it is a regular golf cart.
  • If it exceeds 20mph, but not 25 mph it is a Low-Speed Vehicle.

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Department, states:

Regular Golf Carts

Regular golf carts do not exceed the speed of 20mph. These are the type typically found in golf courses.

Where Can I Drive a Golf Cart in Pinellas County?

  • Regular Golf carts may be operated on roadways designed for golf carts, with a posted speed limit of 30mph or less.
  • Golf cart drivers can also cross a portion of a country road that intersects a roadway that is approved for golf carts, or intersects a golf course or mobile home park.
  • Operating a golf cart on a road must comply with local government laws and should be verified before operating the vehicle.
  • You cannot drive it on a sidewalk.
  • You must obey traffic regulations, such as stop signs.

Does My Golf Cart Need to Be Registered?

  • Golf carts are not required to be titled or registered (unless an LSV)
  • They are not required to be insured with PIP and PDL insurance coverage.

What Golf Cart License Laws Are There?

  • Golf cart operators are not required to have a valid driver’s license.
  • But the operator must be at least 14 years old.

Converted Golf Carts (LSVs)

Golf carts that can exceed the speed of 20mph, but not 25mph are defined as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs).

Golf carts that have been modified to ‘Low-Speed Vehicles’ have different laws to follow.

Where Can I Drive an LSV Golf Cart in Pinellas County?

  • LSVs can be operated on streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
  • You cannot drive it on a sidewalk.
  • You must obey traffic regulations, such as stop signs.

Does My LSV Golf Cart Need to Be Registered?

  • LSVs must be registered and titled.
  • LSVs must be insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability insurance (PDL).
  • The registration and title date should not reflect the date of manufacture, but instead the date it was registered and titled.

What LSV Golf Cart License Laws Are There?

LSV operators must have a valid driver’s license in their possession.

What Equipment Requirements Are There for LSV Golf Carts?

  • Headlamps
  • Turn signals (front and rear)
  • Stop lamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Red reflex reflectors (each side and on the rear)
  • Exterior mirror on the driver’s side
  • Interior rear-view mirror, or exterior mirror on the passenger side
  • Parking brake
  • Windshield
  • Seat belt for each seat
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Golf Cart DUI Laws in Pinellas County

If driving while intoxicated or over the .08% Blood Alcohol Content level, you can get arrested for a DUI in Pinellas County.

Pinellas County law enforcement has recently come down strictly on this, arresting people for driving home in golf carts after a night out.

While it may seem like a fun idea to go drinking in your cart with your buddies, it’s not worth the resulting jail time, loss of license and fines.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida, we welcome you to contact our Pinellas County criminal defense lawyers today to either clear your name or reduce the penalties to save your future.

Penalties for a Golf Cart DUI in Pinellas County

Just like a DUI in a car, you could face jail time and a loss of license for a Golf Cart DUI in Pinellas County.

First-time DUI convictions can also face:

  • A $500-$1,000 fine
  • Up to 9 months in prison.
  • Probation
  • License Suspension
  • Mandatory completion of 50 hours of community service
  • DUI School
  • Victim Awareness Program

Read Related: How to Keep My License After a DUI Arrest in Florida

Golf Cart Statistics Florida

  • More than 18,000 golf cart-related injuries per year in the U.S.
  • 48% of Florida golf car accidents result in hospitalization, severe trauma or death.
  • 27% of passengers were ejected during golf-cart accidents.
  • Death or disability is a result of 15% of all golf-cart accidents.
  • The majority of golf cart-related disabilities or death occurred on streets or roadways.

Source: Traffic Injury Prevention

Examples of Golf Cart DUIs in Florida

  • In August 2022, a woman was arrested for allegedly driving on I-95 in a golf cart, while over the BAC limit. After being guided to pull over by a truck driver, police arrived and smelt alcohol on her breath. The woman stated she believed she could drive a golf cart on the highway “because she saw it on the news”. After refusing a breath test, she was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting law enforcement officers without violence.
  • In February 2023, an NHL coach was arrested for a golf cart DUI. Following a golf cart chase where he failed to yield to stop signs, police charged him for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • A man was charged with a misdemeanor DUI charge, following the death of a passenger when he drove a golf cart over a manhole on the grounds of an exclusive club. While he wasn’t charged with manslaughter, the police stated that the man was driving under the influence.

Golf Cart Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL

If you’ve been charged with a golf cart-related crime in Pinellas County, Florida, then our criminal defense lawyers can help. Whether it’s a DUI, reckless driving charge, or a fine that you believe you didn’t deserve to face, we can help.

Free Consultations

Our criminal defense attorneys in Pinellas County at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with over 60 years of experience. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.

Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300