Under Minnesota law, it is illegal to drive, operate, or control a “motor vehicle” while intoxicated over the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08. Minnesota defines “motor vehicle” as “every vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires. The term includes motorboats in operation and off-road recreational vehicles, but does not include a vehicle moved solely by human power.” Because hoverboards are motorized, they would seem to fit within the definition of “motor vehicle” as something that is “self-propelled.” If this is the case, a person could get a DWI for riding a hoverboard while intoxicated.
However, Minnesota courts have held that Segways are not “motor vehicles.” Segways, like hoverboards, are fully motorized, battery-powered devices. Hoverboards are remarkably similar to Segways, so it is possible that they, like Segways, are not “motor vehicles.” On the other hand, certain hoverboards go faster than Segways, which could influence a court to consider them more dangerous.
Can a person get a DWI on a hoverboard in Minnesota? The language of the Minnesota DWI statute indicates that the answer is “yes;” Segway jurisprudence indicates that the answer is “no.” There does not appear to be any published cases on this particular issue yet, so it seems the best answer to this question is “maybe.”
Anyone charged with a DWI for riding a hoverboard should certainly challenge the charge in court. This is a legal issue in flux, but there is an excellent argument that hoverboards should not be considered “motor vehicles” under Minnesota law. If you would like more information about this issue, please contact us.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.