WENATCHEE– You’ve probably heard the stories of country music legend, George Jones, being arrested for DUI, while riding his lawn mower to the liquor store after his wife took his car keys. That was a true story, and so is this next story reported by the Wenatchee World. A Wenatchee man was charged with “motor vehicle theft” by Chelan County prosecutors for allegedly stealing a riding lawn mower in 2015.
Attorneys for 31-year-old Joshua Barnes argued that the lawn mower did not amount to a vehicle for the purpose of the statute. Now Chelan County deputy prosecutor Nicole Hankins will press the case before the state supreme court.
Barnes was initially held on suspicion of second-degree theft and second-degree criminal trespass, but Hankins added the more serious charge of motor vehicle theft. Defense attorney Robert Gower argued that state law excludes powered wheelchairs, mopeds, and golf carts from the definition of “motor vehicle.” Hankins argued for a broader reading of the statute, which refers to “every vehicle that is self-propelled.”
If Barnes is convicted on the lesser charges, he’s likely facing a prison sentence of between 14 and 18 months based on his prior felony record. If convicted of the motor vehicle charge, he could be looking at 22 to 29 months.