Free consultations (505) 889-3463

Scootering Under the Influence Is Illegal in New Mexico

Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Rentable electric scooters, or e-scooters, have become a popular mode of transportation in cities across New Mexico. They have created some confusion for operators, as they fall somewhere between a motorized vehicle and a recreational device. New Mexico law is clear, however: people who operate e-scooters are required to follow traffic laws, including driving while intoxicated (DWI) regulations.

Scooters vs. E-Scooters

Scooters and e-scooters are classified differently in most states. While New Mexico currently does not have a universal law defining an electric scooter, House Bill 282 suggested the following:

66-1-4.5. DEFINITIONS.–As used in the Motor Vehicle Code:

  1. “electric foot scooter” means a device weighing less than one hundred pounds with two or three wheels, handlebars and a floorboard that can be stood upon while riding and that is solely powered by an electric motor capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion at a speed of no more than twenty miles per hour on a paved level surface.

While this bill has not yet passed, it makes the difference between an electric scooter and nonelectric scooter clear; the latter does not have an electric motor that propels the device. Currently, New Mexico leaves e-scooter regulations to local municipalities.

Operating an E-Scooter Under the Influence Is Against the Law in Albuquerque

Many cities in New Mexico that permit rentable, dockless electric scooters within their limits have enacted corresponding e-scooter laws. In Albuquerque, riding an e-scooter under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, as e-scooters are classified as vehicles under the municipal code. The Albuquerque Police Department has made it clear that individuals suspected of riding e-scooters while intoxicated can be arrested and charged with DWI.

The driving while intoxicated law, New Mexico Statutes Section 66-8-102, states:


  • It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to drive any vehicle within this state.
  • It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any drug to a degree that renders him incapable of safely driving a vehicle to drive any vehicle within this state.
  • It is unlawful for any person who has an alcohol concentration of eight one-hundredths or more in his blood or breath to drive any vehicle within this state.

In Albuquerque and many other cities in New Mexico, DWI regulations apply to operators of electric scooters. This means they can be arrested upon suspicion of drunk driving and convicted of DWI. The penalties for DWI in New Mexico can include jail or prison time, fines, community service, a mandatory drug or alcohol program, and driver’s license suspension.

What if an Intoxicated Scooter Rider Causes an Accident?

Accidents caused by intoxicated e-scooter riders in New Mexico will be handled in the same manner as typical car accidents. The at-fault party will be held financially responsible (liable) under the state’s tort-based insurance law.

If the police arrive at the scene of the accident and discover that the rider of the e-scooter is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the intoxicated individual may be found liable for the crash. The same rules apply if an intoxicated e-scooter operator strikes and injures a pedestrian.

If a negligent motor vehicle driver caused the e-scooter accident but the scooter rider was intoxicated, both parties may share fault for the collision. New Mexico’s modified comparative negligence law states that an accident victim can still recover financial compensation if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault for the crash.

For more information about e-scooter laws in New Mexico, contact The Fine Law Firm for a free case consultation.