Wondering About a DWI on an Electric Scooter?
Vodka tonic with a lime….scooter? If you live or work in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, you’ve likely seen the Lime scooters or Bird scooters. They started popping up a couple of months ago.
The Lime and Bird scooters have become popular offering quick, easy mobility throughout downtown. Easily accessed by anyone who downloads the app, people are free to use the electric scooters under almost any condition, including potential alcohol impairment? So, that begs the question….can you get a DWI on an electric scooter?
ELECTRIC SCOOTERS ARE NOT MOTOR VEHICLES
This is really the most significant distinction. Minnesota DWI laws require the operation or physical control of a motor vehicle. “Motor vehicle” carries a very specific definition. For purposes of this article, it’s sufficient to note that a Lime or Bird electric scooter would not fall under the legal definition of a motor vehicle for DWI purposes.
Our Minnesota Supreme Court has also previously addressed whether you can get a DUI on a Segway. The Court noted that Segways are unlike motor vehicles in that they are self-balancing, typically have handlebars, only have two non-tandem wheels and a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
Given these factors, the Supreme Court classified Segways as “personal assistive mobility devices” and not motor vehicles. An electric scooter like the Lime or Bird scooters seen throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul would most likely be treated the same way.
NO DWI BUT PERHAPS RECKLESS OR CARELESS DRIVING
While it is extremely unlikely that you could be charged with a DWI while operating an electric scooter while intoxicated, you could still face other charges such as reckless or careless driving. Make sure you know the rules and regulations surrounding the use of the electric scooters before hopping on board.
Different cities can restrict where and how the scooters can be operated. If you are cutting through traffic, you may end up facing a charge of reckless or careless driving.
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Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.