Scottsdale Scooter DUI Laws and Defenses

Today we’re talking about a very important change to Scottsdale law that now makes it possible for you to get a DUI for drinking and scootering.

The law just changed, it just went into effect on December 13th, 2018, and now, if you’re driving one of those Lime scooters or one of those Bird scooters, and you’re under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI out of Scottsdale.

I’m going to explain how the law works, we’ll explain some of the penalties, but it’s important that you understand, this is on the books, and it’s very likely to be prosecuted out of the city of Scottsdale.

So let’s dive into it.

As I said, the law passed on 12/13/18, it was passed through ordinance 4372, which added this whole section to the Scottsdale code. Section 17-89.1, includes language that specifically says, stand up electric mini-scooters.

So as I said, the Lime scooters, the Bird scooters, any of those electric scooters, are now covered under this law.

It says, that if you are impaired, to the slightest degree, that you can be charged under this law. It’s a DUI is what it is.

This is a law that mirrors the Arizona law for DUIs, but this is specifically for the city of Scottsdale. That means that if you’re impaired, at all, to any slightest degree, any minimal amount of impairment, you can be charged under this law.

The next section says that if your BAC, which means your blood alcohol content, is a 0.08 or above, they can presume that you were impaired, so they don’t have to presume that you’re impaired if you’re under that level. But if you’re over 0.08, they don’t have to prove impairment, they can presume impairment.

The next section is saying that any drug or metabolite can also be the cause of charging you with a DUI.

So marijuana, any other illegal drugs, potentially could bring you criminal liability under this statute.

This mirrors the Arizona revised statutes pretty closely. All of these things are illegal under Arizona law, Scottsdale is now taking these laws, and applying them to the electric scooters.

As I said, brand new law, you probably have not heard about it, but it’s important you know that that is illegal.

What are the penalties?

People might think, well this is just a minor thing, it can’t be a big deal, right?

Wrong, they’re asking for five days of jail.

Under subsection G and H, we are looking at five days of jail, that’s what they’re asking for, it’s in the statute.

I have the ordinance right here, the statute says they want five days of jail. They want a fine of no more than $250, they want a potential for community restitution, so some community service, that’s not mandatory under the law, but a judge can impose that.

They will suspend, so as I said, they have five days of jail, they’ll suspend four of those days, as long as you do substance abuse screening, and the follow-up treatment. So this is again, similar to the Arizona law.

That still leaves you with one day of jail. So if you’re cited under this statute, and you’re convicted of it, you’re going to jail for a day, for having something to drink, and driving a scooter in Scottsdale.

It’s kind of the whole point of the scooters, people wanna zip around all over the place, without getting in their car. So Scottsdale is criminalizing this. This is a class 1 misdemeanor under the statutes.

Class 1 misdemeanor, it’s the same as a regular DUI in your car, all right? So it’s important you understand this exists.

The law just went into effect.

We don’t know how they’re going to be prosecuting it, but if Scottsdale Prosecutor’s Office and the Scottsdale City Court, and the Scottsdale city in general is any indicator, we believe we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of these.

So, if you are out in Old Town, you’re trying to enjoy yourself, and you hop on one of those scooters, you’re gonna wanna think twice, because the police are likely to be enforcing this new law, and charging people with DUI.

If you are watching this video, and you have been charged with DUI, give us a call.

Our office is at the forefront of this, as we are with many things, we offer free case evaluations, look forward to speaking with you soon.

Until then, stay safe out there.

What are the Scottsdale Scooter DUI laws?

Scottsdale Electric Scooter DUI Laws went into effect on December 13th, 2018 and criminalize driving on electric scooters while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The law is located in Chapter 17 of the Scottsdale Revised Code, specifically 17.89.1 and follows the Arizona Revised Statutes framework for DUI penalties.

Under Scottsdale law, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles, motorized skateboards, motorized play vehicles and stand-up electric min-scooters are included.

The law specifically says that a person cannot drive a scooter under any of the three following conditions:

  1. If a person is impaired to the slightest degree on any drugs or alcohol
  2. If a person has a blood-alcohol content that is at 0.08 or above
  3. If a person has a drug or a drug metabolite in their body

These laws mirror the DUI laws that exist for driving a regular car or motorcycle. Scottsdale has taken the Arizona laws and applied them to the scooters.

People familiar with Scottsdale know the electric scooters are everywhere!

Located on most street corners in Old Town and around the highly trafficked shopping centers, people use the scooters to travel to and from the bar areas home or to other establishments.

There are two main companies, Lime Scooters and Bird.co scooters that fit the legal definition of an electric scooter under Scottsdale law.

What are the penalties for a Scottsdale Scooter DUI?

The penalties if convicted of a Scottsdale Scooter DUI are surprisingly severe!

Under the new ordinance, the law has 3 penalties:

  1. An initial jail term of FIVE (5) days
  2. A fine of not less than $250
  3. May be ordered to do community restitution / community service

The law also says the initial jail term of 5 days can be reduced to 24 hours in jail so long as the person convicted completes substance abuse screening and completes an education or follow-up treatment program.

If completed, the 4 days of jail are deleted. If not completed, the court can impose the extra 4 days.

A conviction for  a Scottsdale Scooter DUI is also a Class 1 Misdemeanor! This is the same classification under Arizona law as a DUI that a person would otherwise get in a car or motorcycle.

Scottsdale’s court system is tightly integrated with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and is likely to report these violations to DPS, meaning this will go on your criminal record in both the Scottsdale and Arizona-wide system and appear on background checks.

Unlike DUIs under Arizona law, the Scottsdale Scooter DUI does not require the installation of an interlock device on your vehicle, and because it is based upon a city code (Scottsdale Revised Code) and the not the Arizona Revised Statutes, the Motor Vehicle Department will not issue a license suspension or points on your license.

What are the defenses to a Scottsdale Scooter DUI?

The new Scottsdale Scooter DUI laws also introduced a variety of other prohibited conduct regarding the uses of an electric scooter, specifically what each scooter must have equipped (lights, brakes, etc.) and where they can be ridden in order to be in compliance with the law.

The police will use these laws to stop people on scooters and then further investigate them for Driving Under the Influence on a Scooter.

This is similar to a DUI in a car.

The police cannot just stop a person for no reason to investigate them for DUI. The person usually has to be speeding, making a wide right turn, or following too closely in order to justify the traffic stop.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has studies they use to claim certain driving behaviors are indicative or impaired driving.

The problem is, none of this applies to scooters.

Scottsdale is getting around this problem by creating a slew of other regulations for the electric scooters, specifically where they can be ridden, whether on sidewalks or multi-use paths or right of way issues.

Scottsdale will use these violations to justify a stop and investigation.

The same DUI defenses we use in cases involving cars or motorcycles will apply, as “Scootering Under the Influence” is a crime and follows the same criminal procedure.

If you have been arrested for DUI Scooter, you can expect the defenses to start with challenging an unlawful or illegal stop and then continuing using the standard DUI defenses, including chain of custody arguments, accuracy of test results, and the many other tactics available in DUI cases.