What Counts as a "Vehicle" Under Illinois' DUI Laws?

Posted on in DUI

IL defense lawyerIn Illinois, our driving under the influence laws say that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Clearly, your car is a vehicle, as is your family’s SUV. A big rig is very clearly a vehicle, and CDL holders may be in even more trouble for drunk-driving one. However, there is still room for debate and confusion about what else constitutes a “vehicle.” Is your bicycle a vehicle? Will you get in trouble for drunk riding your bike home from the bar to avoid driving? What if your bicycle is electric and you do not have to pedal it? These are the types of questions you need answers to before you hop on any device meant to transport you while you are impaired by alcohol or drugs like cannabis. If you do find yourself charged with a DUI on an unusual vehicle, our attorneys can help you fight the charge.

Defining a “Vehicle” for Purposes of Illinois’ DUI Laws

In Illinois, the definition of a “vehicle” is somewhat broad. For purposes of determining whether you could get charged with a DUI for driving or riding it while intoxicated, the determining factor is what powers the vehicle. A “vehicle” is anything designed to transport a person or people, and that is not solely human-powered.

So, while a bicycle is designed to transport a person, it is not a “vehicle” for DUI purposes if it is a standard pedal-powered bicycle. However, slap a motor on that bicycle so that you do not have to pedal, and suddenly, you are back in DUI territory.

Other Vehicles You Can and Cannot Get a DUI on

You should know whether you could be charged with a DUI while operating a:

  • Motorcycle - Motorcyclists can be charged with a DUI while operating a motorcycle, as it is a motorized vehicle. The same is true for those riding smaller forms of motorized bikes, including dirtbikes and electric bicycles.
  • ATVs - While arguably safer to ride while intoxicated than a motorcycle, you can still get charged with a DUI on a four-wheeler.
  • Skateboard - No, you cannot get a DUI while riding a you-powered skateboard. Nor can you be charged for drunk roller-blading, or riding an unmotorized scooter.
  • Powered scooter - You may have seen stations where you can easily rent a motor-powered scooter around town. Do not do so while drunk, as you could get a DUI.
  • Mopeds - As mopeds are motorized, they cannot be legally operated by an intoxicated person.

This is an incomplete list - in general, if you pedal or push it, you will not get a DUI. If it has a motor, you will.

Contact an Illinois DUI Lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges in Illinois, Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law can help you fight back. Our experienced Rolling Meadows DUI attorney will do everything we can to protect you from harsh legal consequences. Call us at 847-253-3400 for a free consultation.