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Scooters pose questions on DUI and OVI risks

Oxford law firm Rittgers & Rittgers is anticipating a new issue for the Miami University and Oxford community: scootering while intoxicated.

In an Oct. 9 blog post on the firm's website, Charles Rittgers said many people have been interested in this issue with the influx of scooters into the city over the past month. He went on to answer some of the commonly asked questions people have had.

There has been confusion over whether or not one has to be on public property to be arrested for an OVI/DUI.

"The Revised Code prohibits operating any vehicle 'within the state' while impaired; therefore, you can be cited while on your own property," Rittgers wrote. "For example, you can be cited for OVI for mowing your lawn on a riding lawnmower if you are impaired."

Rittgers next analyzed whether or not an e-scooter is classified as a motor vehicle.

"The Revised Code defines 'motor vehicle' as 'every vehicle propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power...except motorized bicycles...' The Bird and Lime scooters are propelled by 'power other than muscular power.' So, it appears they qualify. But the Revised Code creates a specific exception for 'motorized bicycles,'" he wrote.

Rittgers examined the overarching question: can one receive a(n) DUI/OVI for riding an e-scooter while intoxicated?

"Whether the City of Cincinnati, the City of Oxford or Miami University police departments will cite for riding Bird or Lime scooters under the influence of alcohol/drugs is unknown. But Ohio law does not appear to prohibit them from doing so."

Lieutenant Lara Fening of the Oxford Police Department (OPD) said the OPD has not encountered a "scootering while intoxicated" situation yet, but violators here in Oxford would likely be charged under OVI/DUI laws.

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