At the time, the man was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, and he was charged with a DUI. After a two-day trial, a fine of $1,500 was issued to the man, and his driver’s license was suspended for three years.
The Appeals Court in Oregon has agreed to the lawyers representing Mr. Greene after they demonstrated that operating the motorized wheelchair on a crosswalk, just like a pedestrian would, did not qualify the man as a “driver.” Thus, the DUI charge was incorrect because the mobility scooter was not under the legal definition of a vehicle according to Oregon law.
It is important to regard that this decision only seems to apply to this case, and that is because the mobility scooter was used on a crosswalk, just like a regular pedestrian, and not on the road, like vehicles travel.
The difference between the two made it possible to consider another article of Oregon law that appears to define wheelchair users as pedestrians: “any person afoot or confined to a wheelchair.”
As the Appeals Court noted, state lawmakers have not intended to consider wheelchair users in crosswalks as “drivers,” and then the case was won for Mr. James Richard Greene.
It is important to underline that state laws vary, and that doing the same thing in another place or situation could lead to a DUI conviction. Never operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol, drugs, or medication that could impair your abilities.
The Oregonian has observed that the man did have a previous conviction for a DUI in 2007, but court records did not indicate whether it happened while he was at the wheel of an automobile or while operating the wheelchair he is confined to use for day-to-day transportation necessities.