You can’t get a DUI in Spokane on a Lime Scooter, according to law enforcement. This doesn’t mean you should hop on an electric scooter after drinking heavily since this could lead to serious injuries for yourself or others. Setting aside the obvious safety risk, these scooters don’t meet the legal definition of “motor vehicle” for DUI purposes. This is why you are not risking a DUI criminal charge when riding an electric scooter under the influence in Washington State.
You’d think it would be easy to define a motor vehicle for Washington State DUI purposes, however, it’s not as simple as just checking one statute. The main statute for defining a motor vehicle excludes Lime Scooters because they aren’t vehicles that are “propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires but not operated upon rails.” This is most likely why Spokane law enforcement doesn’t think Lime riders can be charged with DUI.
There are two additional Washington State statutes, or RCW’s, that appear to be related to electric scooters. These two statues are entitled Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and Medium Speed Electric Vehicles. These two statutes actually address four-wheeled electric vehicles with top speeds of 20 miles per hour or above. Since Lime scooters are two-wheeled and have a top speed of just under 15 miles per hour so they don’t fall within the definition of motor vehicle for these statutes, either.
As a general rule you shouldn’t be facing a DUI for riding a Lime Scooter while impaired. There are, however, occasions where folks are accused of a DUI in non-traditional motor vehicles, so it is important to know whether the vehicle you’re driving fits the definition of “motor vehicle” for DUI purposes before you start drinking. If you or someone you care about are facing a DUI or any other criminal charge, call the experienced attorneys at Cooney Law Offices today. We can help!