Perhaps you’ve gone out with friends and had a few drinks. Knowing that you are too intoxicated to drive home, you decide to take alternate transportation. You whip out your phone, open the Lime or Bird app, and find yourself an available electric scooter. After unlocking the device, you hop on and head home. However, as you travel down the road, you wonder if you can get a DUI even if you’re not in a car. Technically, you cannot get charged for driving while under the influence if you are using an electric scooter.
How Is DUI Defined?
Under Arizona Revised Statute, you can get a DUI if you are in actual or physical control of a vehicle and have drugs and/or alcohol in your system. Although the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%, you could violate this law if you have any amount of intoxicating substance in your system that impairs your ability to drive safely.
What Is a Vehicle?
Because electric scooters are relatively new modes of transportation, before August of 2019, Arizona law did not specifically address them. Although electric bicycles and motorized skateboards were not considered vehicles and might not fall under DUI laws, it was not clear whether or not an electric scooter could.
Because of the confusion, cities like Scottsdale and Tempe had their own ordinances regarding drug and/or alcohol consumption and electric scooter use. In Scottsdale, riders were prohibited from riding one of these machines after having consumed an intoxicating substance.
In Tempe, a 28-year-old man was charged with driving while intoxicated after he crashed while riding an electric scooter along the road. His BAC was allegedly at 0.285%. However, sever questioned whether or not he should have been charged since he was on a scooter as opposed to being in a car.
Since bikes and skateboards are exempt, shouldn’t a scooter also be?
To clarify the definition of an electric scooter, lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 1398, which was approved by Governor Doug Ducey in April of 2019.
As of August of 2019, an electric miniature scooter is one that:
- Weighs less than 30 pounds
- Has 2 or 3 wheels
- Has handlebars
- Has a floorboard to stand on
- Can be powered by electricity and/or a human
- Has a maximum speed of 10 mph
The law also defines an electric standup scooter as a device that:
- Weighs less than 75 pounds
- Has 2 or 3 wheels
- Has handlebars
- Has a floorboard that a rider can stand on
- Can be powered by an electric motor and/or a human
- Has a maximum speed of 20 mph
So how does the new definition apply to a DUI and electric scooters? Along with clarifying what the device is, it also explained what it is not. Arizona’s driving under the influence law specifically states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
SB 1398 says that a vehicle is a device that transports a person on a public highway.
However, it is not an:
- Electric bicycle,
- Electric miniature scooter,
- Electric standup scooter, nor
- Device moved by human power
With the definition clarifications, you might not be charged with a DUI for riding an electric scooter after imbibing a few drinks.
Call Bowman, Smith & Kallen Today for Skilled Legal Defense
If you were charged with a DUI/DWI, our attorneys can provide dedicated and fierce representation to defend your case. Together, we have over 100 years of combined legal experience and know what defenses can be brought up in these types of matters. We will work hard toward getting charges reduced or dropped.
Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (928) 433-2355 or contacting us online.