Can you get a DUI on an electric scooter ?

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The state and local governments have been busy amending the laws associated with motorized vehicles. And a lot of credit goes to these electric scooters bikes popping up in different states across the US. Now, the question of can you get a DUI on an electric scooter has been hot, especially in the rider communities.

The short answer to this electric scooter DUI discussion is yes, you can get a DUI on an electric scooter, but it depends on where you live in the US. The law associated with getting a DUI riding an electric scooter differs from state to state. The LA authorities have already acquired an electric scooter DUI conviction for an individual riding a motorized scooter.

And if you scan through the internet, you will see that the people of Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana are at risk of electric scooter DUI arrest while the residents of Minnesota are not.

So let's get into the details of this matter!

​What's a DUI?

DUI or driving under the influence means the riders, and it is an offense of operating a motorized vehicle. Why is it an offense, well, because you are impaired by either drugs or alcohol ? 

Your blood needs to contain at least 0.08% of alcohol or other drug content (also known as BAC or blood-alcohol content) to leave you incapable of operating a motorized vehicle safely. These drugs also include any recreational drugs along with the drugs that are prescribed by the physicians.

There are various sobriety tests that officers can conduct on the field to have probable cause for the arrest of a person under the suspicion of DUI. These tests are :

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN is about following an object with the eye. Officers can use various stimuli, to check the eye movements and reactions to the stimuli.

  • Walk-and-Turn is about checking an individual's capability to follow instructions and keeping in mind the various steps while dividing attention between mental and physical tasks.

  • And the one-leg-stand.

There are various other tests that field officers can use, but these three are most common, and they are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

can you get a DUI on an electric scooter

​Dangers of riding an electric scooter under the influence

The matter of can you get a DUI on an electric scooter is pretty serious. You are exposed to some serious physical injuries if you are not doing it with protective gear or are driving under the influence. The accidents involving electric scooters and alcohol have increased in recent months. And all of them have been caused by the rider failing to maintain proper control over the vehicle.

The first thing is that you should drive any motorized vehicle under the influence whether it is a car or an electric scooter. You are not only jeopardizing your own well-being but that of others around you as well. As these scooters can go on the sidewalks and through the crowds, bumping into someone becomes a lot more than a chance.

When you have your BAC up to 0.08% or more, it deprives you of your natural motor skills. You are not able to maintain steady hand-eye coordination, and you lose your ability to balance as well. It not only puts you in danger but others nearby you in harm's way as well.

And then an electric scooter is just a platform under your feet and a stemmed handlebar. There is no protection like the way you get in an automobile because it still provides you with a bit of protection on the road.  

Your entire body is exposed to road injuries. And if you are not wearing any protective gear like electric scooter helmets, then you are even more exposed.

​Electric scooter DUI: What exactly the law has to say about it ?

The answer to the question of can you get a DUI on an electric scooter varies across the country. The state of Minnesota does give you an electric scooter DUI. But people in Colorado, Illinois, and Indians can get an electric scooter DUI arrest.

Oklahoma also has its DUI statutes in place, and you can get an electric scooter DUI here. California also issues an electric scooter DUI. The state of Kansas states that driving and drinking are not allowed for all vehicles, excluding bicycles. Still, some local ordinances do include bikes too.

Missouri state law mentioned that driving a motor vehicle intoxicated is an offense bike bikes don't fall under this law. But according to the law mopeds and electric scooter might qualify as a motor vehicle if it has a max speed of 30 miles an hour, has a cylinder capacity of 50cc, and features an automatic transmission. For driving such a vehicle, a driver's license is required, and you can fall under the DUI law.  

Hence, different states have different laws. And the main point to understand is how a state statute defines "motor vehicle." Some states use the terms "motor vehicle" for a vehicle equipped with a driving motor. In contrast, others use just the term "vehicle" as in any device capable of being transported or moved.

​Penalties

Penalties for an electric scooter DUI vary across different states. Some of the states, especially those who use the term "vehicle" in their statutes, consider an electric scooter to be a motorized vehicle. Therefore, the charges levied for an electric scooter DUI are very similar to motor vehicle DUI.

Some states also treat it as a misdemeanor and impose penalties that might include suspension of driver's license, jail time, heavy fines, and evaluation for substance abuse or community service.

electric scooter under influence law

​Other charges intoxicated riders might face

Whether or not riders are subject to electric scooter DUI, riding these personal vehicles in the public premises while intoxicated might result in criminal charges.

For instance, an intoxicated rider might have to face charges associated with reckless driving or public intoxication.

​Rinding Electric Scooter when Intoxicated – Laws by State

StateDoes state DUI law apply to electric scooters ?
AlabamaYes
AlaskaNo
ArizonaNo
CaliforniaNo, but there is other laws in California for illegal scooter riding on a highway while intoxicated.
ColoradoYes
ConnecticutYes
DelawareNo, but Delaware have a law, saying it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on a roadway when intoxicated if it would create a hazard.
District of ColumbiaYes
FloridaYes
GeorgiaYes
HawaiiYes
IdahoYes
IllinoisNo
IndianaYes
IowaNo
KansasNo
KentuckyNo, but Kentucky law prohibits people under the influence of alcohol from using a motorized vehicle.
LouisianaNo, by court ruling
MaineNo
MarylandYes
MassachusettsNo
MichiganNo
MinnesotaNo
MississippiYes
MissouriNo
MontanaNo
NebraskaNo
NevadaNo
New HampshireYes
New JerseyNo
New MexicoNo
New YorkNo
North CarolinaYes
North DakotaYes
OhioYes
OklahomaNo
OregonYes
PennsylvaniaYes
Rhode IslandYes
South CarolinaNo
South DakotaYes
TennesseeNo
TexasArguably, but charges are highly unlikely
UtahYes, but it is rarely used against electric scooters
VermontNo
VirginiaNo
WashingtonNo, by court ruling
West VirginiaNo
WisconsinNo
WyomingYes

​Tips for staying safe while riding an e-scooter

Here are some tips that you need to follow while riding an e-scooter to keep yourself as well as others that are around you.

  • Make sure to wear standard safety equipment made for e-scooters.
  • Check for any flat tires.
  • Focus on your surroundings and be careful in crowded places.
  • Stay alert of any barriers on the road.
  • Try to avoid any slippery surfaces.
  • Stay calm and don't zip through.
  • Don't use an e-scooter when there is a lightning storm.

Conclusion

We hope that you've got the answer to your question of can you get a DUI on an electric scooter. An electric scooter DUI is treated differently in different states across the country. And this treatment depends on how a state's legislature defines the term "motor vehicle."

But it is not just about the law; it's the matter of public safety. Electric scooter DUI puts you as well as others around you in danger of any physical injuries; just like a normal vehicle does.

Try to be a more responsible citizen and take care of yourself and others around you!

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