Earlier this month, a 25-year-old male was arrested after riding a motorized scooter along the sidewalk next to a DUI checkpoint. He failed a field sobriety test and was arrested. In California, even the new motorized scooters that companies like Bird and Lime rent out, are still considered “motor vehicles” and as such, getting on one intoxicated can result in a DUI. Not only have there been arrests, now prosecutors have a conviction to add to precedent, as the Los Angeles Times reports.
Scooter rental companies like Lime and Bird have been popping up all over Los Angeles and Santa Monica since last year. The process is relatively simple: the companies charge $1.00 plus $0.15 per minute to rent the vehicle. Renters find nearby scooters on the app and scan the barcode on the handlebars to unlock the scooter.
The user agreement they agree to in renting the scooter says that they agree not to drive the scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Los Angeles officials were able to get a misdemeanor DUI conviction against 28-year-old Nicholas Kauffroath.
Kauffroath was driving a Bird scooter when he knocked a pedestrian to the ground and did not stop to render aid. Police officers soon found Kauffroath and did a breathalyzer test, revealing his blood-alcohol content to be .279%, which is more than 3 times the legal limit of .08%.
Kauffroath pleaded no contest to one count of operating a motorized scooter while under the influence and one count of hit and run.
He was sentenced to three years on probation and a fine of $550. Kauffroath must also pay the victim restitution and complete a three-month DUI program.
This is the first time a DUI case involving driving a motorized scooter while under the influence has been prosecuted in Los Angeles.