If you’ve gotten charged with a DUI, you will have to wait until you get your license back before trying the best scooter brands. However, it is possible to drive a moped while having a DUI but you have to make sure that the vehicle you are driving respects the criteria set by local authorities. When deciding on what moped to get you must pay attention to the engine rating, the cylinder capacity, and the maximum designed speed.
A moped’s general specification
In general, mopeds have 2 or 3 wheels, their top speed is lower than 35 mph, and they have pedals for propulsion. But modern mopeds don’t come with pedals so they are defined by the size of the engine, speed, and output.
Mopeds have an engine size of maximum 50cc with a twist & go automatic transmission. For driving a moped in some states you need an M1 or M2 license. So if you got your license suspended for a DUI, you are precluded from riding a moped on public roads.
There are some popular DUI stories that you might have heard of. For example, you can’t be charged with a DUI if you are driving certain vehicles or transportation devices. The reality is that you can get a DUI when operating a motorized wheelchair, riding a bicycle, or using a common lawnmower. In some states, you can get a DUI while riding a horse.
So there is no vehicle that will make you Driving Under Influence-proof even if you thought the law applies only for cars and trucks. In some parts of the country, you might be convicted of DUI if you are driving or physically controlling any kind of vehicle.
A few years ago, the suspension period for DUI got a little bigger, especially for people who refused to provide the police officer a sample of their breath or blood. Also, the penalties grow based upon the concentration of alcohol in the driver’s breath or blood.
This can be difficult for people living in cities without a lot of transport options. The subway might be missing, the buses’ schedules and routes might not be helpful and taking a taxi all the time will prove to be expensive over a long period. It could be very hard for you to get to your job on time or simply go to the grocery store, especially if your driving license is suspended for a long time.
The legal alternative
An interesting option is available for you to continue to move around the city even if you got charged with a DUI. According to the law, you can drive a “motorized bicycle”. However, your new vehicle must meet a set of criteria, as otherwise, driving it on public roads is illegal.
The vehicle must have two or three wheels and it must be equipped with an internal combustion engine. The engine rating must be a maximum of 2 horsepower and the cylinder capacity is not supposed to be bigger than 50 cubic centimeters. The transmission must be automatic and the top speed on a flat surface should not exceed 25 mph.
As we know, most mopeds can go faster than 25 mph. For a long time, it was difficult for authorities to prove the criteria of maximum speed as they couldn’t rely on the manufacturer’s specifications. This is because a big number of moped riders decided to modify these vehicles to achieve a higher speed. Now, the Supreme Court ruled that if the moped is actually going faster than 25 mph, the driver must have a valid driving license.
So if your driver’s license is currently suspended and you thought you can legally drive a moped on public roads, remember to thoroughly check its technical specifications. The most important aspect is to make sure that the moped doesn’t reach a speed higher than 25 mph on a flat surface as this is very easy to be proved by local authorities.
‘DUI vehicle’ business
A couple of entrepreneurs from Florida thought about filling up the DUI mopeds niche in today’s market. After taking some time to complete the research, they have come up with the ‘DUI moped’ for those who have been charged with Driving Under the Influence. Since this moped is electric and its top speed is 20 miles per hour, you can legally drive it while your driver’s license is suspended.
These mopeds are imported from China and they look like a normal moped with a headlight, turn signals, and pedals so the driver can propel it when the battery is empty. The price is somewhere between $1000 and $2000 depending on the moped’s specifications.
People who have bought the DUI moped are pleased they can move on their own to the office or around the town. Some shops even offer a copy of the DUI law to customers so they can show it to the police officers during a traffic stop.
Not everyone is a fan
Some organizations advocating for tougher regulations think the existence of a law that allows people charged with DUI to drive is sending a wrong message. The fact that people can still drive tells others that driving under the influence is not a big problem as they will not lose their right to drive.
Furthermore, law enforcement officials are not as excited as DUI moped drivers and are looking for a solution to monitor the people convicted of DUI when they are returning on the public roads.
Check the local laws
Don’t forget to read the local laws before riding your moped on public roads. This legal loophole might be inexistent in your state and you need a valid driver’s license for every vehicle that you can drive on the public roads.
You might be wrong when telling a judge that you can’t be charged with another DUI for driving a moped or saying to a police officer that you can drive even if your license is suspended. So make sure to check the local laws with an experienced DUI lawyer before buying a DUI moped.
Where can you drive a moped?
When driving on public roads, you should always stay in the far-right lane unless you plan on making a left turn. Moped drivers are not allowed to ride on interstate highways as their presence might create a dangerous situation for all traffic participants. Because of their low traveling speed, they could impede or block the usual traffic movement.
It is not only illegal, but it is also unsafe to ride a moped on these roads since the top speed is 20 mph. Don’t enter roads with on-ramps or off-ramps since these roads are usually interstate highways. In most of the states, mopeds can be legally driven on sidewalks.
Registering the moped
Even if you can’t register your moped at the local Department of Motor Vehicles as you would do with any other vehicle, it is still required by law to have your moped registered. You will have to send by mail the legal application, payment for the processing fee, and proof of ownership. After two weeks, you will obtain the moped’s ID and the license plates.
Even if your vehicle will not travel at great speeds or you will ride it on the sidewalk, there are some legal requirements for your moped to fulfill. It should have a headlight, tail light, and brake light. Some states demand that the headlight should be turned on at all times so moped drivers are easily observed by other drivers. It is illegal to have a vehicle whose noise exceeds 95 decibels so an appropriate muffler is recommended.
An approved-by-regulation helmet is strongly recommended by all motorists. Even if you plan on using the moped for a short period of time, you should invest in a high-quality helmet. Don’t buy a second-hand helmet as it may have unseen damage or its interior could be worn down. Keep in mind when riding a moped you are completely exposed if an accident happens.
Try to wear reflective clothing or add more lights to your moped so other drivers can easily see you on the road.
Insurance for mopeds
In most states, only bodily injury and property damage liability coverage are required for moped drivers. However, the amount of coverage is different for each state. Other forms of insurance can pay for your medical bills, funeral expenses, vehicle damage or theft.