Our own Douglas T. Kans was just interviewed by Kare 11 NBC News for his expert opinion on a unique Minnesota DWI case involving a segway.
The Minnesota’s Court of Appeals recently made an important decision: A Segway is not considered a motor vehicle.
The Court of Appeals judges supported the dismissal of DWI charges made against a Hennepin County resident that was caught operating a Segway with a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. According to the judges, the Segway driver should not be subject to Minnesota’s DWI laws.
A Segway is a battery-powered, two-wheeled vehicle with a set of handlebars and a platform between the wheels for the driver to stand upright on.
The Medina city police stopped the 48-year-old and charged him for third-degree DWI, driving with a BAC that was over .08, and failure to maneuver a personal assistive mobility machinery with due care. The arresting officer saw the Segway drift twice across the road’s centerline. The Segway driver was making his way home from a pool tournament that was happening less than a mile away.
The Segway driver disputed the first two charges, stating that he had previously been arrested for driving the same device while drunk, and that the court had dismissed the charge because the Segway was not recognized as a motor vehicle. In the 2010 case, the district court determined that the Segway driver was considered a pedestrian.
When interviewed by NBC News, Douglas T. Kans asserted that the court used common sense. He stated, “Where do we draw a line on a motor vehicle? Segways are not designed to be on highways. The DWI statute is designed to protect drivers on highways and roadways.”
According to the appellate court, the self-balancing personal transit machine is definitely not considered a motor vehicle. The Segway runs at about 12 miles per hour, and falls under traffic rules for pedestrians as it is primarily operated on bike paths, on sidewalks, and in buildings.
One of every seven individuals in Minnesota has a drunk driving conviction. DWI offenses in Minnesota generally lead to thousands of dollars in fees, loss of license for up to one year, and possible jail time. If you are charged with DUI in the state of Minnesota, call the Kans Law Firm, LLC immedietly at (952) 835-6314 for a free consultation and case evaluation.