What vehicles are legal after a DUI?

August 21, 2019

It’s Thursday night – Thirsty Thursday. You know you are going to have a few drinks with your friends at your favorite hangout. It’s only two miles away. Playing it safe, you pass by your vehicle and grab your electric scooter, and off you go. When your wad of cash is gone, the beer glasses are empty, and all the fun you could have is over, you grab your scooter and head home. Before you know it, you’re a block away and standing in front of a police officer as he writes you a citation for DUI. But wait! You were on your scooter, not in your vehicle! You were on the sidewalk too – that’s ok, right?

Unfortunately, in many states, you will face a DUI charge using a scooter because it is defined as a vehicle. So, how do you know what vehicles are covered by DUI laws and which ones are not?

What vehicles are legal?

First, you have to understand how your state defines a “vehicle.” California defines a vehicle as something that is either self-propelled or powered by something other than a human. So, Fred Flintstone would be ok in his foot-powered vehicle, but you’ll be facing a DUI with your electric powered scooter. (Oh, and don’t even think of Flintstoning it on a dinosaur or horse or donkey because those you can get a DUI as well).

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Similarly, Kansas defines motor vehicles as, “Any mechanically or electrically powered motorized mode of transportation…” So, you’ll have to find another way in the prairies too. How about a horse – would that be ok? Not so fast, Kentucky law prohibits non-motorized vehicles – including a horse. In Arizona, on the other hand, you would be free to operate electric bicycles because they’re not defined as a “vehicle.”

As you can see, rules vary widely across the United States on what is defined as a vehicle, and what a DUI can cover. Remember, the best way to avoid a DUI is to plan ahead. Consider alternative forms of transportation if you have been drinking such as a friend or a ride service. Don’t roll the dice with a judge and find out what they call a vehicle.



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