Can You Get a DUI in Tampa Operating an Electric Scooter?

In warm weather cities like Tampa, mopeds and electric scooters are a popular way to get around – especially with electric scooters being publicly available as part of the city’s ride-sharing programs. But what happens when you have a few drinks and use an electric scooter to get home? You might be surprised to learn that you can get a scooter DUI in Tampa, and if you have a suspended license due to another DUI you may face more penalties if you’re caught using an electric scooter. Our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan can help if you’re facing the murky waters of a scooter DUI in Hillsborough County.

Is an Electric Scooter a Vehicle in Florida?

There are a few reasons you can be arrested for a DUI when you’re on a scooter. First, it has to do with the definition of a vehicle in Florida. Florida Statutes section 306.003(75), defines a vehicle as every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is transported or drawn upon on a highway, except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Mopeds and motorized scooters can never be operated on a public street or highway, regardless of driver’s license status because they cannot be lawfully registered and assigned a tag due to the requirements of Florida Statute section 320.02(9) and the manufacturing safety standards of the federal “Motor Vehicle Safety Act.” (See the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.)

Let’s break this down further.

Motorized scooter (cannot be operated on a public street or highway) – is defined as any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle of a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground, per Florida Statute section 316.003(82).

Moped (requires a driver’s license) – is defined as any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels; with a motor rated not in excess of two brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle greater than 30 miles per hour level ground; and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters, per Florida Statutes 316.003(77).

How Can You Get a DUI on an Electric Scooter?

Why does it matter if an electric scooter is legally a vehicle? Because in Florida, you can be found guilty of a DUI if you are found to be operating a vehicle with BAC of .08 or higher. Notice the term is not “found guilty of operating a car” but a vehicle of any kind. If convicted, you could face the same punishment as if you had been caught driving a car.

Further, just because a scooter may not be able to drive on the street does not mean you don’t need a license to operate it, which means if you’re driving an electric scooter but have a suspended driver’s license due to a previous DUI, you may still find yourself in hot water (especially if illegally operating the scooter on the street). Pursuant to Florida Statutes 322.01(26) and 322.03(1), if you operate any motor vehicle on the public streets or highways of Florida, you must have a driver’s license. You can be charged with a scooter DUI in Hillsborough County if you’re operating a vehicle without a license and have been drinking.

Scooter DUI in Tampa? We Can Help.

A Tampa scooter DUI can be complicated, which is why you should call Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today. Our team of attorneys handles complex and unique DUI situations, including scooter DUI in Hillsborough County. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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