Drunk man on a scooter can’t be charged with drunk driving, court says

If you are physically disabled and rely on a motorized scooter to get around, can you be charged with drunk driving if you become intoxicated?

“No,” the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled today, overturning the conviction of James Brown Jr., who was charged while driving his scooter on the sidewalks of Grand Rapids in July 2009.

He drove his scooter , which has a top speed of about 6 mph, to a car dealership, which called the police.

But the court ruled that it’s not a motor vehicle. A driver’s license isn’t required to operate it, you can’t register one in Minnesota, and the law bans it from roadways under most conditions.

“Because Brown’s scooter is not a ‘vehicle’ under the relevant statutory definitions, it is not a ‘motor vehicle.’ And Brown is not a ‘driver’ because when he uses his scooter, he is not driving or in physical control of a vehicle,'” the court said. (Full opinion here)