ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed the drunken driving conviction of a disabled man who was intoxicated while riding his three-wheeled mobility scooter.

The appeals court ruled Monday that scooters don’t count as motor vehicles as they’re defined by state statutes.

James Anthony Brown Jr. drove his electric scooter on the sidewalks of Grand Rapids to a car dealership one day in 2009. His blood alcohol level tested at 0.17 percent, just over double the legal limit for driving a car.

Because of the way the traffic regulations are worded, the appeals court says, a scooter counts as a wheelchair, not as a motor vehicle that can legally be driven on a highway. So, it says, Brown counted as a pedestrian, not a driver.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (23)
  1. Les Johnson says:

    How is it a bicycle can count as a motor vehicle then? Hmmmm…

    1. Justin says:

      a bicycle is not counted as a motor vehicle, look up definitions by statute before making an assumption, 168.002 sub 18 (a) Motor vehicle. “Motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle designed and originally manufactured to operate primarily on highways

      1. Les Johnson says:

        An assumption? I know someone who got a DWI while riding a bike. You are the one making the incorrect assumption, Justin. No offense.

        1. Justin says:

          as being law enforecment…you can not receive a DWI on a bicycle

          1. Pinky212 says:

            Couldn’t they get him for public intoxication, at least! Sheez! Disabled, driving a vehicle of any kind — there HAS to be a law against that.

            1. Justin says:

              im sure the city could, there is no state statue for drunk in public, but cities have ordinances for it, if he was being out of control on it then possible disorderly conduct

          2. Jake says:

            Sorry Justin, with all due respect, I have also heard that being drunk on a bicycle can get you a DUI. I also know of a kid on my block who got ‘pulled over’ for towing a ‘trailer’ made from 2X4s with a lawn mower on it with his bicycle because he didn’t have ‘trailer plates’ on it. No LIE. How stupid is that?

          3. Les Johnson says:

            “as being law enforecment…you can not receive a DWI on a bicycle”

            To Mr. Law Enforcement: I’m not asking you. I’m telling you.

  2. Debi says:

    Hmmmm………..then what about the Indian on the riding lawnmower??
    You can’t take a riding lawnmower out on the highway

    1. Justin says:

      falls under off road vehicle under 169a.03

    2. markH says:

      Indians should know better than to drink alcohol; if it weren’t for the drinking, they would still own much of this country. I think it’s best to keep them on reservations where they are happiest and we know where they are, Peace.

  3. Horned Eagle says:

    well isn’t that a sht sandwich………

  4. Huxley says:

    Laws can be twisted to suit governments financial needs. This guy broke the law but nobody wants to be the one to punish the disabled guy on a Rascal. So they say he was legal. Surprising display of ethics from law enforcement on this one. That being said, that an activity is “legal” does not make it moral, ethical, or socially beneficial. Wall Street has proven that even the vastest larceny can be “legal”, and Bush has proven that even genocide and torture can be “legal”. The law, as we know, is the of the wealthy and powerful. So much for the law.

  5. trl the alligator says:

    ….just another example of our stellar law enforcement doing their job and the lower courts and the buffoons who rule them making decisions that defy logic and common sense……..and these are people the taxpayers pay over 100 grand a year…….its no wonder America is in a state of degeneration.

  6. idiocracy says:

    There is a story on the homepage of a DUI on a lawnmower. Granted it’s in South Dakota, but still a funny coincidence.

  7. William says:

    What a crock, it is all just another excuse for someone to be drunk, stupid and endagering others too……..send the jerk to rehad to dry out….

    1. Les Johnson says:

      Government forced rehab? What else should government force?

  8. Andy says:

    I’m so sick and tired of hearing about these stories, what cop in the world would give someone a DUI on a hovaround, are you kidding me? Thank god there was finally some real justice dished out when comes to another ridiculous DWI case. I think in the city where this happend they need to re-evaluate there man power when it comes to their police force if this is what they are out doing? This case is a complete embarrasment to anyone in law enforcement and the officers who made this arrest should ashamed of themselves. Bust real criminals thats your job!!!! I don’t want some cop on this web site to come at me and say ” they were upholding the law” St Augustine said” An unjust law is no law at all”. We have plenty of stupid laws in this country that should go away. Yet again another perfect example of why the DWI laws need to be reigned in, enough is enough. The Giant state revenue builder DWI money machine almost one again. Hearing stuff like this makes me really angry that I have served 15 years in the Marine Corps defending laws and the constitution and this moronic stuff still goes on. Get a life Grand Rapids PD!!!!!

    1. Bull says:

      Andy I am sure you sit at home an dplay video games all day long. Don’t try to make yourself look all mighty you punk!

  9. KFC says:

    Why was he going to a car dealership? To test drive a car?

  10. 2farsouth says:

    If he has no use of his legs then of course it’s not a “motor vehicle”…it’s his legs!!!
    It is no different than a person with full use of legs walking down the street. Drunk fer sure, but that was not the real issue.
    Did not need johnny law to tell ya that.

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