DUI on a Scooter

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on December 29th, 2005

There's an old constitutional law maxim that says "Any ambiguity in a law is to be interpreted in favor of the accused"…..except, apparently, in drunk driving cases.

I've posted in the past about statutes prohibiting driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol being applied to bicycles, lawn mowers, wheelchairs — even horses. Now a North Carolina appellate court has decided that scooters are also "vehicles" in the great DUI dragnet:

Court applies DWI law to tipsy scooter driver

Associated Press. Don't drink and scoot. Even operators of stand-up electric scooters can be convicted of drunken driving, a state appeals court decided Tuesday.

Kevin Michael Crow of Youngsville challenged the law after being convicted last year of driving while impaired. He was pulled over on his scooter after a Hyde County deputy saw him run a stop sign on Ocracoke Island and weave erratically, according to the state Court of Appeals. The Sheriff's Office determined that Crow's blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent, higher than the legal limit for drivers, 0.08 percent…

About 100 people were near Crow's scooter, Chief Judge John Martin wrote. Crow's "behavior subjected these pedestrians and motorists to a high degree of danger," he said.

Doubtful, but how does that bear on the issue of whether a scooter is a "vehicle"? And whatever happened to the rule that ambiguous laws must be interpreted in favor of the accused?

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