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Will South Carolina lawmakers close the moped DUI loophole?

South Carolina residents may or may not be aware of a DUI loophole that currently exists in the state's laws. Most people probably think that if they are driving under the influence of alcohol and their blood alcohol content is measured at .08 or higher then they may face drunk driving charges. For the most part, this is correct, but there is a loophole that prevents drivers of certain vehicles from being charged with drunk driving.

Under South Carolina law, DUI charges will only result from driving a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. It is a likely assumption that a moped, although a small vehicle, still has a motor and therefore is considered a motorized vehicle. However, South Carolina law specifically excludes mopeds from the definition of a motorized vehicle. Therefore, those driving a moped cannot face drunk driving charges, no matter their BAC.

This loophole, as it is considered by some lawmakers, has not gone unnoticed. In April 2011, two lawmakers introduced a bill that would remove the loophole and classify a moped as a motorized vehicle. The bill passed the House but when it arrived at the Senate it stalled. According to the Senate's rules, a single lawmaker can block a bill from being voted upon. Therefore, the bill never made it through the Senate.

Two Upstate lawmakers are trying yet again to close the loophole. They have already pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session. If it passes, those driving a moped could face drunk driving charges.

This may be an important issue for drivers in South Carolina since drunk driving charges can lead to serious consequences including loss of drivers' licenses, fines and jail time.

Source: WBTW News 13, "SC lawmakers try again to close moped DUI loophole," Jan. 2, 2013

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