Charged With a DWI? Not If You Were On a Segway

Posted On January 22, 2013 by Daniel Koewler

In an opinion released on Tuesday January 22, 2013, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that a "Segway" is not a motor vehicle and the driver isn't subject to the state's DWI laws. The driver, Mark Greenman, was arrested for DWI under the theory that a Segway was a "motor vehicle" for the purposes of Minnesota's DWI laws. The trial court dismissed the charges, ruling that Minnesota's DWI laws don't apply to Segways. The government appealed the decision.

The Court of Appeals, relying on State v. Brown, concluded that because an electric personal assistive mobility device is not a "motor vehicle," the driver cannot be charged with a DWI as a matter of law.

The is the second published opinion issued by the Court of Appeals dealing with new advances in technology that don't qualify strictly as "motor vehicles." (the Brown case dealt with an electric wheel chair). The legislature may try and change the law to cover "Segwaying While Intoxicated" in the future, but for now, there is a strong defense to be raised for anyone charged with a DWI while riding a "personal assistive mobility device" - including Segways.