A South Carolina Senate panel moved to close a section of the law regarding the DUI loophole that prevents a person being arrested for DUI if they are driving a moped. As the law currently stands it is not unlawful to ride a moped under the influence. An anomaly that most people would likely agree seems to make no sense at all. But how is that possible if you drive a moped on the road with everyone else that is required to follow the law?
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence requires that a person commit the following elements (§56-5-2930):
Essentially the law requires that a person be:
- A motor vehicle;
- While under the influence; of
- Alcohol;/drugs… where they are materially and appreciably impaired
So why are mopeds not included?
The problem comes up when you look at the definition of Motor Vehicle section under §56-5-130 that states:
Every vehicle which is self-propelled, except mopeds, and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, is a “motor vehicle”.
If you look at the elements section above regarding DUI, you will notice that section 2 requires that a person be driving a “motor vehicle” and under the statute mopeds are currently excluded as a motor vehicle, so they do not meet the elements for a DUI, no matter what your level of breath alcohol content.
This bill stands to correct this problem by classifying mopeds as a motor vehicle and therefore making them subject to the elements of a DUI offense.