South Carolina DUI Law and Mopeds
If you are convicted of a DUI in South Carolina, you automatically lose your license for at least six months. Many people left without an SC license because of DUI turn to mopeds for transportation. That’s because in South Carolina you do not need a regular driver’s license or insurance to operate a moped. You may, however, need a class G license, which can be obtained even if your regular license is suspended. But what if you are pulled over for driving under the influence while driving a moped? Can you be charged with a DUI in South Carolina while driving a moped?
Many judges in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek and across South Carolina are throwing out drunken-driving cases because the drivers were on mopeds, which are not considered “motor vehicles” and, therefore, not subject to SC DUI laws.
But a few months ago, an SC state Senate committee approved a bill that would reclassify mopeds as motor vehicles with respect to the SC DUI statutes.
A regular drivers license is not required to drive a moped in South Carolina, making it a popular choice for DUI offenders with suspended licenses. In the SC Senate version of the bill, DUI offenders with suspended licenses still could drive mopeds. However, they still could be found guilty of DUI if pulled over while intoxicated.
A bill that passed the SC House last year would have considered a moped to be a motor vehicle in all aspects of the law, meaning moped drivers would need a license and insurance to drive on South Carolina roads.
Judges in the Charleston, Summerville, Mt. Pleasant and Goose Creek, SC areas have dismissed several DUI cases involving mopeds, and now many SC law enforcement agencies and state legislators are anxious to close the DUI moped “loophole.”
So, for now the moped remains an excellent means of transportation for those convicted of DUI in Charleston and across South Carolina. SC moped drivers also may not have to worry about a DUI charge while operating a moped. However, during the next legislative term South Carolina is likely to see a change in the law, classifying mopeds as motor vehicles only with respect to the DUI laws. Stay tuned to the Anderson & Schuster Blog for updates in South Carolina’s DUI laws, including those that concern the operation of mopeds.