E-scooters, also known as electric scooters or dockless scooters, are increasing in popularity in cities throughout the United States. E-scooters allow individuals to “unlock” the scooter with an app on their cell phone, ride the scooter for as long as they choose, pay the fee through the app, and leave the scooter wherever they desire around the city.
For many individuals, dockless scooters have become a cost-effective, convenient form of transportation to get around without using other forms of public transportation, such as city buses, rideshare services, taxies, or subways. However, e-scooters also have several downsides. For example, you do not need experience or safety gear to ride an e-scooter, which can increase the risk of an e-scooter accident involving other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Some riders leave the dockless scooters in the middle of sidewalks, pathways, or other places that increases the risk of trips and falls for pedestrians. Additionally, some individuals operate e-scooters recklessly or negligently, such as speeding, driving drunk, or failing to obey traffic laws. Let’s look a little more closely at drunk driving and e-scooters.
Being Arrested for Drunk Driving on an E-Scooter
Yes, you can be arrested for drunk driving on an e-scooter. Most states have DUI and DWI laws that prohibit operating any motor vehicle or electric vehicle while under the influence of or impaired by drugs or alcohol.
An Albuquerque woman was charged with aggravated DWI and being pulled over while riding an electric scooter. Police stopped a woman in New Mexico and arrested her for drunk driving on a scooter after she failed a field sobriety test.
A Kansas City man was charged with driving under the influence after running into a police vehicle while riding a Bird scooter. Another man in Arizona was charged with driving under the influence while riding an electric scooter in the Phoenix area.
Numerous news stories detail how individuals are charged with a variety of crimes for operating e-scooters under the influence of alcohol. Because laws vary by state, individuals should review their laws regarding drunk driving and impaired driving to determine whether the laws apply to scooters and how the laws might vary for different vehicles.
In most cases, if you would face DUI charges for being behind the wheel of a car, you can also face the same charges if you are stopped while riding an e-scooter. Likewise, you probably face the same penalties if convicted of DUI while riding an e-scooter that you would face if you were convicted of DUI while driving a car. You could lose your license, pay a fine, serve time in jail, serve probation, and face increased insurance rates.
Do not assume that your DUI is not a serious matter simply because you were riding an electric scooter when you were ticketed. If you are ticketed for DUI on an electric scooter you need to figure out your rights, do your research, and determine if it’s time to lawyer up. Be safe.