Cover Image for Getting a DUI in Oklahoma When You Aren't Driving a Car

Getting a DUI in Oklahoma When You Aren't Driving a Car

Kaylind Landes
6 minute read

Getting behind the wheel of a car when you’re under the influence is always a bad idea. You can not only get arrested, but you could have your license suspended, end up with sky-high insurance costs, and even go to jail in some cases. And if you’re thinking about hopping on an e-bike or another alternative, think again–and read this article.

Can I Get a DUI in Oklahoma When I’m Not Driving a Car?

Yes–you can get a DUI or DWI if you’re not driving a car. That’s because Oklahoma’s laws for driving under the influence broadly apply to “motor vehicles,” which means any motor-driven vehicle with wheels. And, under Oklahoma law, a driver is “any person who…is in actual physical control of a vehicle.” That means that if you’re in control of any motorized device, you can get a DUI.

By treating all motorized vehicles the same, Oklahoma law helps make sure public roads and shared spaces are safe. After all, an electric scooter on a sidewalk still has the potential to injure pedestrians and damage property. Equal safety rules also give law enforcement officers and the courts a standard that’s easy to follow and enforce.

Oklahoma Laws for Vehicles Other Than Cars

There are plenty of motor vehicles out there that aren’t cars. Here’s how Oklahoma’s DUI laws apply to some of the most popular ways to get around.

Motorized Scooters

We’ve probably all seen people zooming around on bright green Lime scooters or black-and-white Bird scooters. Motorized scooters are very popular in cities and on college campuses, providing a fun, quick way to go short distances. Just open the app, tap, and go! But not so fast: Oklahoma law limits you to one person per scooter and requires you to be age 14 or older (although the scooter companies’ laws themselves usually require riders to be at least 18, parents can sign off for children 13 or older). There are also local laws about where you can ride. For example, Tulsa doesn’t let you ride a scooter on the sidewalk in business districts.

The bottom line: Operating a motorized scooter under the influence is legally the same thing as driving a car and can get you a DUI.

Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) have motors that accelerate their speed far beyond what manual pedaling would achieve. The motor can either help with pedaling, or can be connected to a throttle that allows the rider to speed up. Oklahoma law provides an even more specific definition of an electric bicycle: “Any bicycle with two or three wheels; fully operative pedals for human propulsion; an electric motor with a power output not to exceed 1,000 watts” and that travels no faster than 30 miles per hour. (A regular bicycle goes about 15 miles per hour.) The rider also needs to be at least 16 years old.

The bottom line: E-bikes can go much faster than a regular bicycle–and that’s why you can get a DUI for driving one while intoxicated.

Four-Wheelers and Off-Road Vehicles

Our beautiful state parks and incredibly diverse terrain make off-roading a popular hobby here. But Oklahoma also leads the nation in ATV-related deaths–so there’s good reason that the state’s DUI laws also apply to these vehicles. According to Oklahoma law, an “all-terrain vehicle” is a motor vehicle “manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use traveling on four or more non-highway tires, and being 50 inches or less in width.” Riders under 18 must also wear a helmet.

The bottom line: From Lake Murray to the sand dunes of Little Sahara State Park, your ATV is classified as a motor vehicle, and you can get a DUI while driving it.

Construction and Agricultural Equipment

There’s no doubt that most construction and agricultural equipment is motorized. From bulldozers and cranes at building sites to tractors and harvesters on a farm, the motor is exactly what helps to make humans’ jobs easier. While they often don’t travel far, machinery like this is heavy and powerful, able to cause quite a bit of damage if used incorrectly. That’s why Oklahoma law prohibits operating heavy equipment under the influence.

The bottom line: Step away from the tractor if you’ve been drinking and take a nice walk instead.

Tips for Avoiding DUIs When Using Alternative Transportation

It might be tempting to hop on a scooter or e-bike when you’ve been drinking, but it simply isn’t worth the risk. Instead, use public transportation or ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Tulsa and Oklahoma City both have nighttime bus lines that run until midnight. Designating a sober driver is another tried-and-true solution–because you can’t get a DUI in any vehicle if you haven’t been drinking. Finally, make sure you’re familiar with local laws so you can avoid DUIs as well as other violations.

The Bottom Line

Always plan for safe transportation if you’ve been drinking–it isn’t the time to show off your Lime scooter tricks or break out the ATV for a quick race. Motorized scooters, e-bikes, ATVs, and construction equipment are all considered “motor vehicles” under Oklahoma law, and driving one while under the influence can land you in trouble. The potential legal, financial, and personal consequences simply aren’t worth it.

If you do find yourself on the wrong end of a DUI in Oklahoma, we’re here to help. Contact the Tulsa DUI Guy today for a free case review.