From motor vehicles to bikes to mopeds, the state of California is cracking down on drunk drivers. Prior to additions to the California Vehicle Code citizens could operate both a bike and moped while drunk; however, both are now punishable with fines and a permanent criminal record. The DUI scooter California laws under vehicle code 21221.5 prohibit operating a scooter while drunk on highways. In California, highways are described as any public road including sidewalks. Like always, the easiest way to spare yourself the embarrassment of being arrested for operating a scooter under the influence is to ask a friend to be a designated driver or take a taxi home.
DUI California Scooter Laws under vehicle code 21221.5
In California, if a scooter is equipped with a motor than it is not only subject to all the traffic laws of a motor vehicle, but also the rules regarding drunk driver. Therefore, section 21221.5 of the vehicle code prohibits operating a motorized scooter while intoxicated or on drugs. If stopped by the police operating a moped while intoxicated carries a fine of no more than $250. Furthermore, if arrested the defendant must remain in County jail until the police determine that they are sober enough to return home. In addition, their driving and criminal record will indicate an arrest and conviction for a drunk driving offense. Due to mopeds not being considered as much of a safety risk as a vehicle, those convicted of operating a scooter under the influence (SUI) are not subject to the same punishments as a DUI sentence. If the moped was being operated by a driver under the age of twenty-one than they will face additional penalties. These punishments can include a revocation of their driver’s license for up to one year or the delay of the issuance of their license by one year.
Prior to being pulled over for an SUI (aka scooter under influence), the police officer must have probable cause that the operator is intoxicated. Once stopped, if the driver believes that he or she can operate the scooter safely in their present condition they can request a blood test be given by the officer. Unlike a DUI, an SUI does not have a minimum blood alcohol level that is considered to be intoxicated. Therefore, the officer uses his or her discretion when determining whether or not the person is intoxicated.
Hire a California DUI Lawyer to Defend Your Case
If arrested for a DUI on a scooter it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A qualified criminal attorney that specializes in DUI cases will know the ins and outs of the legal system and be able to provide the needed representation for you in Court. The DUI scooter California laws can be opposed in several ways. First, erratic driving on a moped can be explained by road and/or weather conditions. Second a flushed face, red eyes, or slurred speech can be explained with a medical rationale or prescription drug. Third, the chemical test (if conducted by the officer) could be tainted or improperly given.
Can You Drive a Scooter With a Suspended Drivers License?
A common misconception for those arrested of DUI in a motor vehicle is that they can operate a scooter with a suspended drivers license. However, operating any vehicle that has a motor with a suspended license is illegal and if caught the perpetrator could face additional penalties including jail time. Exceptions are made for anyone operating a motorized wheelchair due to a physical or mental disability. Consequently, many convicted DUI offenders turn to bikes to get to and from work and home. Anyone using a bike for transportation needs to be aware that the state of California has strict laws for operating a bicycle while drunk.
Under California law operating any moving vehicle is illegal if the driver is intoxicated. Regardless of whether the vehicle is a full-size truck or a moped driving drunk is illegal; however, the punishment is different. Under the DUI scooter California laws, operating a moped while intoxicated is subject to a fine and a misdemeanor criminal record. Don’t let yourself be guilty of driving a scooter while drunk and instead ask a friend to be your designated driver. However, if arrested for a DUI with a scooter contact a well-respected attorney immediately. In Orange County, Christopher McCann is both qualified and respected by many legal peers for his expertise in defending California DUI cases.
About Guest Post Author:
Christopher J McCann is a DUI lawyer in California and has many experiences when it comes to criminal justice laws. If you need help about DUI scooter California laws or in need of legal representation, you can visit his website cjmdefense.com or you can also follow his tweets at @CJM_Law_Firm to get the latest updates from him.