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South Carolina’s strange DUI loophole for mopeds

Most people assume that operating any motorized vehicle while drunk can land you in jail. However, that isn’t currently the case in South Carolina. A surprising loophole in the law specifically excludes mopeds from the definition of DUI. Put simply, you can’t get a DUI conviction for driving a moped while intoxicated.

The loophole provides another advantage for drivers who have lost their licenses after a DUI conviction: They can still drive mopeds. While perhaps not the fastest or safest mode of transportation, for many drivers, mopeds beat out walking (or relying on others to get around).

How the loophole was almost closed

For years, state legislators have tried to close the loophole through various bills. A proposal during this past session would have:

  • Broadened the definition of DUI to include mopeds
  • Required a special moped license that could be suspended for certain violations
  • Imposed other safety requirements such as helmets and reflective vests for young riders

While the bill initially passed in the legislature, it was vetoed on the governor’s desk. The state Senate failed to overturn that veto before the session came to an end. As a result, the loophole will remain open … for now.

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