California state driving laws establish a very specific definition of “vehicle” under the law, explicitly defining it as something self-propelled or powered by something other than a human. As a result, while you can get a DUI while riding a horse, operating a boat, or even using a ride-on lawnmower, you cannot get one for bouncing down the street on a pogo stick. However, there are some exceptions that allow users of some self-propelled vehicles to avoid driving under the influence charges, while some human-powered transportation methods are subject to their own drunk driving laws. This guide can help you better understand what transportation methods you can legally use after drinking in California.
Can You Get a DUI on a Skateboard?
No. Because skateboards are powered by your feet, you cannot get a DUI while using them under California law. Even self-propelled electric skateboards and hoverboards are excluded from the state’s DUI laws under California Vehicle Code section 21224 (VC).
However, if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while riding on an electric skateboard or a hoverboard, you can get a unique type of DUI ticket under Vehicle Code Section 21296 (VC). The upside is that this crime is not punishable by a license suspension and only carries a maximum fine of $250. On the downside, there is no legal intoxication limit under the law for those riding an electric skateboard like there is with a car. So if an officer believes that alcohol or drugs negatively influence your ability to use these vehicles safely, he can give you a ticket even if your BAC is below 0.08%. You have the right to ask to be tested though, if you believe you are not actually intoxicated.
Can You Get a DUI on Rollerblades or Roller Skates?
No. Since these devices are not self-propelled, they are not covered by the state’s drunk driving laws.
Can You Get a DUI on a Scooter in CA?
No, as long as it does not have a motor. You cannot get a DUI using a Razor, kick, swing, or other foot-powered scooter. Technically, you also cannot get a DUI on a motorized scooter or moped either because California Vehicle Code section 21224 (VC) excludes them from the list of things considered a vehicle under the law, even though they are self-propelled. This law only applies to low-powered motorized scooters such as pedal-powered mopeds, Lime, and Bird scooters, not vehicles with engines over 50 ccs, like Vespas, which are sometimes called “motor scooters” or “mopeds” to distinguish them from more powerful motorcycles.
However, if you are caught riding on a motorized scooter or mopeds while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can get a special kind of DUI under 21221.5 (VC). The good news is that this crime is only an infraction, punishable by a $250 fine, rather than the misdemeanor you could get for a standard driving under the influence charge. You will not lose your license if you receive such a ticket.
Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in California?
Yes! Because drunk bike riders present a distinct risk to themselves and others, the state legislature had to create a specific DUI law covering bicycles since they are person-powered and not otherwise covered by the law. This offense carries much less severe penalties than traditional driving under the influence charges.
Can You Get a DUI on a Segway?
No. Segways are considered personal mobility devices, meaning they are essentially the same as a wheelchair, so they are excluded from drunk driving laws.
Can you Get a DUI on a Motorized Wheelchair?
No. Aside from the fact that an officer would be incredibly rude to arrest a handicapped person who could not get around without a motorized wheelchair or mobility scooter, state law protects people with disabilities from these charges.
Drinking in Public Charges Can Still Apply
Even if you cannot get a DUI on rollerblades, skates, a longboard, or a similar wheeled transportation method, that doesn’t mean you can use them while hammered without any legal repercussions. Aside from the obvious safety hazard, it’s a good idea to avoid using these devices while drunk because doing so could still open you up to charges for being drunk in public or disturbing the peace.
If you are accused of drunk driving, being publicly intoxicated, or any similar crime, Peter M. Liss can help. He can be reached 24/7 and offers a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, please call (760) 643-4050.