DUI on a Skateboard or Bicycle? What is the Difference Between a “Motor Vehicle” and “Vehicle?”

In Colorado there is a notable difference between a “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” for DUI purposes and collateral consequences at the DMV level regarding a person’s driver’s license.

It’s illegal for any person to drive a “vehicle” in Colorado while under the influence (DUI) or while impaired (DWAI) by the consumption of alcohol or drugs or both. The definition of vehicle is very broad, to say the least. A summary of the definition of “vehicle” is as follows:

  1. a “device” capable of moving itself;
  2. or that can be moved on wheels or “endless” tracks;
  3. which includes a bicycle, an electronic “personal assistive mobility device”;
  4. the definition does not include a wheelchair, a snowmobile, an off-highway vehicle, a tractor (farm), or an “implement of husbandry” used in agriculture;
  5. and does not include a device used only on stationary rails or tracks or a device that moves through the air primarily.

Thus arguably, the definition could include a skateboard or a man-powered scooter or similar device. Clearly the definition is subjective.

On the other hand, the Express Consent Statute applies only to “motor vehicles”. Thus driver’s license consequences should only apply for DUI or DWAI offenses which result from the operation of a motor vehicle, not just a vehicle.

A summary of the definition of “motor vehicle” in the context of DUI/DWAI is as follows:

  1. wheelchairs and vehicles moved only by human power are excluded;
  2. it includes off-highway vehicles and farm tractors that are not otherwise classified as a motor vehicle;
  3. a self-propelled vehicle (or low-speed electric vehicle) that is used for travel on the highway and transports persons and property.

It’s important to note that a vehicle must be operable or “reasonably capable of being operable” in order for a defendant to be convicted of an alcohol-related offense. This is determined by whether or not a temporary condition can be fixed.

Contact Attorney Monte Robbins today for a free case evaluation regarding your Colorado DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, DUI drugs, or UDD case at 303-355-5148 or 970-301-5541.