Have you seen them? Possibly you’ve seen someone zooming around Hillsborough Street or maybe you’ve seen one sitting curbside. What you may ask? The Bird Scooter! The newest contraption that has invaded the streets of downtown Raleigh. A convenient form of transportation for those who have to get from point A to a short-distanced point B. The scooters can go up to 15 miles per hour and can be found all over the downtown area.
Being a fixture in the downtown area makes it convenient for those who may be hanging out in the many eating and drinking establishments for which downtown Raleigh is known. The question arises, if you are stopped by a police officer, after drinking, can you be charged with a DWI. In short, yes.
NC Statute GS 20-138.1 states that the offense of driving while under the influence occurs when a person drives “any vehicle” upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance; or
(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration; or
(3) With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90-89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.
While there are exceptions to the definitions of what constitutes a vehicle, these scooters do not meet the exception as they are not used for those with impaired mobility and the wheels are one behind the other (tandem) and must be balanced by the rider, as defined in State v. Crow, 175 N.C. App. 119
Therefore, consuming an impairing substance and boarding one of these scooters and presenting an officer with a reasonable suspicion that you may have consumed an impairing substance may prompt said officer to initiate a “stop” of your vehicle/scooter and possibly a charge for DWI.
A DWI charge, whether in a car or on a motorized scooter, is a serious offense with hefty fines, loss of license, and possible jail time if convicted. Dealing with such a charge is a serious undertaking and something that shouldn’t be handled without the help of an experienced attorney. If you have been charged with a DWI, contact the Law Offices of Anna Smith Felts, PLLC at 919-834-3790 to assist you.