Can you get a DUI riding an electric scooter? - Denver Personal Injury Lawyers | Front Range Injury Attorneys

Can you get a DUI riding an electric scooter?

Electric scooters are all over Denver and other cities in Colorado. They provide a convenient transportation alternative to cars and other fuel-powered vehicles. People often use e-scooters in Denver to travel to and from entertainment events, happy hours and other circumstances where drinking occurs. Sometimes, people think because a scooter is small and doesn’t move as quickly as a car, it is no problem to operate a scooter while intoxicated. Can you get a DUI or other drunk driving charge on an electric scooter in Colorado? Yes.

Colorado drunk driving laws

Colorado, like all other states, prohibits operating many types of vehicles on public streets while intoxicated. In Colorado, there are several types of drunk driving charges depending upon your age, impairment and alcohol consumption. It is worth noting that drunk driving laws apply not only to alcohol but other intoxicating substances including marijuana, prescription drugs and illegal drugs. If you are injured by a drunk driver, contact us to speak with our Denver drunk driver lawyers about your case.

DUI: Driving Under the Influence

The most well known drunk driving charge in Colorado is DUI or driving under the influence. DUI is a criminal act when you operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. It is chargeable when your consumption results in impairment that renders you substantially incapable, mentally or physically or both, to exercise clear judgment, physical control, or due care in operating the vehicle.

Note that there is no specific blood alcohol content required for a DUI conviction. If you are impaired even after one drink, that is enough for a DUI in Colorado.

DUI per se

DUI per se is a variant DUI charge. Per se means “by law” so it is a DUI because you meet a specific legal standard. That legal standard is blood alcohol content. For a DUI per se charge in Colorado, your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be over the legal limit of 0.08.

What makes a DUI per se different, in addition to the BAC requirement, is that the state does not have to prove any degree of impairment. You can appear capable of driving and demonstrate no signs of impairment, but still receive a DUI per se. The state must prove your blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.

DWAI: Driving while ability impaired

A DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, occurs in Colorado when a person over the age of 21 has a blood alcohol content between 0.05 and 0.08, or if under 21, between 0.02 and 0.08. This is a lesser offense than a DUI but can still affect your ability to legally drive and carries its own penalties. Note there are separate tests for marijuana that can result in a DWAI (or DUI) conviction.

DUI penalties in Colorado

In Colorado the penalties for DUI and DUI per se are the same. The number of offenses determines the severity of punishment.

Your first DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. It can be punished by five days to one year in jail, up to $1000 fine, 96 hours of community service and a nine month license suspension.

A second DUI is a misdemeanor. It can be punished by ten days to one year in jail, $1500 fine, 120 hours of community service, one year license suspension and an ignition interlock for two years.

A third DUI is a misdemeanor. It can be punished by 60 days to one year in jail, $1500 fine, 120 hours of community service, two year license suspension and an ignition interlock for two years.

A fourth DUI is a class 4 felony. You may face up to six years of prison with three years of parole, up to $500,000 in fines and a two year license suspension.

It is important to note that if any DUI results in bodily injury–such as a car accident–you may face up to 12 years of prison.

DWAI penalties in Colorado

DWAI penalties are similar but slightly less severe than a DUI. One difference is that with a DWAI you can accrue DMV points. If you acquire too many points in a one or two year period, the state may suspend your license.

A first DWAI is a misdemeanor punishable by two days to six months in jail, $500 fine, 48 hours of community service and 8 DMV points.

A second DWAI is a misdemeanor punishable by 10 days to one year in jail, 120 hours of community service, 8 DMV points and up to a one year license suspension.

A third DWAI is a misdemeanor punishable by 60 days to one year in jail, $1500 fine, 120 hours of community service, 8 DMV points and license suspension for two years.

A fourth DWAI is a class 4 felony punishable by 2-6 years in prison, fines up to $500,000 and two years license suspension.

Riding an electric scooter in Denver while intoxicated

Do DUI and DWAI charges apply to electric scooters?

Colorado drunk driving laws apply to motor vehicles as well as other types of vehicles. These include:

  • Bicycles
  • Electric bicycles
  • Electric scooters
  • Electric personal assistive mobility devices

So yes, you may receive a DUI or DWAI while operating an electric scooter while intoxicated. Colorado Revised Statute 42-1-102 specifically includes these vehicles as the types that you may not legally operate while intoxicated.

A police officer may stop you while operating an electric scooter and conduct a traffic stop like a car. You may be more at risk of a stop on an electric scooter if you ride it in an area prohibited by law, such as sidewalks in many parts of Denver and other cities.

If you are involved in a scooter accident and the police arrive to investigate the collision, they may evaluate whether you are intoxicated. That could lead to a DUI or DWAI charge.

If you injure another person in an accident you caused, you are at risk of a felony conviction for DUI/DWAI involving bodily injury to another person. If you cause a fatal injury, you may face a class 3 felony with as much as 12 years in prison. In most cases a scooter accident versus another vehicle rarely results in injury to people in the motor vehicle; however, a scooter accident may not involve an automobile. You may injure a passenger in a single vehicle accident or strike another person on a scooter, bike, or even a pedestrian. Any injury to another person, even a minor injury, puts you at risk of a felony charge.

If you cause a scooter accident and receive a drunk driving charge, you should hire a criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are injured in an accident involving an intoxicated scooter operator, contact our Denver scooter accident attorney for a free case review.

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