If you're a driver who's been convicted of a DUI and who has had their license suspended, getting around can be difficult. Even if you were never convicted of DUI, you could still be dealing with a full year of having your driver's license suspended if you refused to take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. Losing your license, even temporarily, can have a significant impact on your ability to get to school or work, or even something as simple as a trip to the local grocery store. If you take public transit, you have to rearrange your life according to the transit's schedule, and even that schedule is not always reliable. Fortunately for drivers in Tampa, the state of Florida may offer an alternative.
Alternative Transport After a DUI Conviction
DUI scooters, or electric bicycles, offer an alternative means of transportation that a person can legally operate without a license (as long as they're 16 years or older). For a person who has had their license suspended or permanently revoked, obtaining a DUI scooter may be essential.
These vehicles are still relatively new to the market, and there have been significant recent changes to the laws that cover electric bicycles. They may also cause some confusion with law enforcement due to certain models' resemblance to small motorcycles. Some DUI scooter riders have been arrested for driving on a suspended license. Instead of facing potentially bogus charges and harsh penalties, involve a Tampa DUI lawyer who is familiar with handling cases that involve these electric bicycles. If you've been arrested for driving on a suspended license while riding an electric bike or DUI scooter, it is essential to talk to a lawyer about your rights and options.
What Type of Electric Bike or Scooter Can I Ride Without a License?
If you're riding a DUI scooter or electric bicycle that fits the legal definition of an electric bike, then you don't need insurance, vehicle registration, or a driver's license to operate it.
Per Florida Statutes 316.20655, an electric bicycle must:
- Have a "motor [that] is disengaged or ceases to function when the rider stops pedaling or when the brakes are applied"
- Require human power as well as motor power (it can't be entirely self-propelled)
- Not exceed a top speed of 20 mph
- Not have an electric motor power wattage higher than 750
- Have a clear label that lists the bike's motor wattage and top assisted speeds
You also won't be allowed to modify the bike unless you also update the label as well, whether you have a license or not.
If a DUI scooter or e-bike doesn't meet the legal definition of an electric bike, then it will be deemed a motor vehicle, one that you won't be allowed to operate unless you have a license. For instance, a moped does not count as an electric bike and requires a Class E or Motorcycle Only license (they also require license plates and registration).
Before you even select a DUI scooter to get you around after a license suspension, you may want legal advice to make sure you're choosing a model that will keep you clear of any legal trouble.
Riding a DUI Scooter/Electric Bicycle After License Suspension
Though some trails, beaches, and cities allow certain electric bikes on the sidewalk and trails, other municipalities restrict this type of transportation on pedestrian pathways or ban it outright. Be sure to check your local ordinances!
These DUI scooters aren't street legal either, but you can take them out onto the bike paths of the road. The same access and rules as a bicyclist would apply in your case, so be sure to follow traffic signals, use hand signals for turns, etc.
Legal Help for Suspended License Cases Involving DUI Scooters in Tampa, FL
At Thomas & Paulk, we understand how to deal with criminal cases involving DUI scooters, and we can use this experience to your advantage. For example, in one case, the Tampa Police Department arrested two people for driving with a suspended license and violation of probation because they were riding electric bicycles. In these DUI scooter cases, these individuals initially faced felony charges, but our attorneys got involved and had the clients released on their recognizance (without bail) with all charges dismissed.
Don't face charges for a crime that you're not guilty of! Contact our Tampa DUI scooter attorneys at (813) 321-7323.