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Starting July 1, Tennessee's DUI laws apply to e-scooters

Now that e-scooters have come to Tennessee, the state has taken notice and updated our laws. As of July 1, e-scooters will be considered motor-driven vehicles. That means that you can be arrested for DUI if you ride an e-scooter while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Before you ride an e-scooter at all, you should be aware of the dangers. Recent studies have found that e-scooter users may suffer severe injuries, including brain injury, even while using e-scooters as expected. Some e-scooters may be damaged or defective. Always ride on the street, not the sidewalk. Also, helmets are not provided, so you should bring your own.

The designation of e-scooters as motor-driven vehicles was part of a suite of new laws going into effect on July 1.

On an e-scooter or behind the wheel, the penalties for DUI are the same

Being arrested for DUI in Tennessee is no joke. A conviction can result in serious penalties, even for a first offense:

  • Between 48 hours and 11 months, 29 days in jail (at least 7 consecutive days if your blood alcohol content was 0.20% or greater)
  • A fine of between $350 and $1,500
  • One-year driver's license revocation (a restricted license may be available)
  • A drug and alcohol treatment program at the judge's discretion
  • Restitution if you caused any personal loss or injuries
  • An ignition interlock device installed on your car at your expense
  • Costs including towing, bail, court costs, drug and alcohol treatment fees and license reinstatement fees

•· High-risk auto insurance requirement

The penalties increase with each subsequent conviction, if you had a minor child in the car at the time of your offense, or if you cause serious injuries or death. In these circumstances, you could be charged with child endangerment, vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular assault while driving intoxicated, or even vehicular homicide.

Tennessee takes drunk driving -- and drunk e-scootering -- extremely seriously. If you simply plead guilty, you are likely to face serious penalties. An experienced DUI attorney can evaluate your case and work to minimize the damage, such as by negotiating a favorable plea bargain.

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