Is MoPed Licensing in the Future?

If you want to find out which way the wind is blowing in Raleigh at the General Assembly, one indicator is WRAL – at least when it comes to new criminal laws that might be in the offing. Last year, WRAL ran a series of reports – generally overblown and inaccurate – that claimed to shine a spotlight on the problem of repeat DWI offenders.

While it’s certainly the case that repeat DWI offenses can be a problem, the vast majority of DWI offenders only commit the crime once. Repeat DWI offenses are rare.

Now WRAL is highlighting the so-called problem of unlicensed drivers operating mopeds.

If you read the WRAL report, you’d probably never realize that driving a moped while impaired is a criminal offense – even if you were not licensed to drive the moped. Heck, even operating a bicycle is a criminal offense – a DWI – if appreciably impaired or a .08 or above at the time of operation.

Mopeds are currently the only motorized means by which a person can get around North Carolina after they’ve been convicted of two DWIs or if they can’t afford insurance associated with a DWI conviction. Mopeds are generally safe to other people – bystanders are rarely, if ever, injured from a drunk operating a moped while impaired. If impaired on a moped or a bicycle, the person is much more likely to injure himself than to injure anyone else.

Given North Carolina’s generally poor public transportation system – even in the Raleigh area – mopeds can be the only method of transportation.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.