large__5738084783Yes, in Virginia you can get a driving while intoxicated (DUI) charge while operating a moped!

Virginia Code § 18.2-266 which covers the law for driving while intoxicated explains that it is unlawful for a person “to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train… while such person is under the influence of alcohol.” That section goes on to say, “For the purposes of this article, the term “motor vehicle” includes mopeds, while operated on the public highways of this Commonwealth.” So please don’t think that you are safe from getting a DUI if you are riding a moped.

Also, the code defines highway differently than the way most people understand a highway. Virginia Code § 46.2-100 defines a highway as “the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel in the Commonwealth…”  So you are only safe in the eyes of the law while driving a moped drunk if you are on private property.

Moped law is tricky in Virginia.  You can drive a moped without a license, but not if your license was suspended because of a DUI or if you have been declared a habitual offender.  Also, if your moped exceeds 35 mph, it will be considered a motorcycle, requiring a license to drive and tags. Your moped should also have a motor that displaces less than 50 cubic centimeters (or 50cc). There is a lot of misinformation about mopeds and moped riders should be careful to research the law and not rely on the information of salesmen.  The Virginia DMV has some helpful information on its website.

photo credit: MSVG via photopin cc

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