You’ve likely noticed bright green bikes and scooters available for short term rentals popping up in areas around you. While these may seem like a convenient option when you have had a little too much to drink and don’t want to drive your car home, it is still possible to get a DUI on one of these devices.
Florida Statute 306.003 defines a vehicle as “every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.” The statute further goes on to define a motorized scooter, which falls within the above definition of a vehicle. As a result, this subjects electric scooters to the same traffic laws that a car would be expected to follow. Since these rental scooters have become more widespread, Tallahassee Police Officer Damon Miller said, “You cannot run the red light, you basically have to follow all traffic laws.” Also, when you’re riding e-scooters on the sidewalk you must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk as well.”
While Officer Miller did not touch on the dangers of driving one of these scooters while under the influence, it is clear that you must be under the legal limit to legally operate these vehicles. Florida Statute 316.193 makes it illegal to operate an electric scooter with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Therefore, if a police officer has probable cause to believe you are operating an electric scooter under the influence, you may face the same charges and penalties as you would behind the wheel of a car.
Recently the issue of driving an electric scooter under the influence became headline news in California. The driver chose to drive a rented electric scooter home after a night of drinking when he drove into the path of oncoming cars. Unfortunately, the man was hit by a car and had to be transferred to a local hospital. While he recovers from his injuries, he will have to face his pending legal charges as a DUI is filed against him.
Mark McCullough, an officer involved in the California scooter DUI case, stated: “Uber and Lyft are still cheaper than going to jail and being the laughing stock of the cell because you got a DUI-scooter.” If you find yourself in a situation where you are driving an electric scooter while you are under the influence, you must contact an experienced DUI defense attorney to discuss your legal options. This becomes even more important if you have received a previous DUI charge while operating a car as the penalties only become more severe with each occurrence.