For many who don’t have a driver’s license, whether they can’t afford a car, or it’s suspended, riding a moped is the only way to get around the Richmond area. However, the law on mopeds in Virginia is confusing to even the most experience traffic attorney. It is important to know these basic laws so that you don’t end up in court or jail.
Mopeds are defined by the Virginia code as any vehicle with less than three wheels that displaces less than 50 cc’s and has a seat that is less than 24 inches in height. Code of Virginia § 46.2-100. Many vehicles that are referred to as “scooters” are legally defined as mopeds in the Commonwealth. Any moped that is operated at over 35 mph becomes a motorcycle for the purpose of Virginia law. Code of Virginia § 46.2-914.
It is a common misconception that if your license is suspended you can drive a moped, however that is only partially true. Those who drive mopeds do not need a driver’s license to operate them on the highways of the Commonwealth. As of July of 2013, moped riders do need to carry a photo ID with them. If your license is suspended for any reason other than a conviction of driving under the influence, such as fines and costs, you can operate a moped, even though you can’t drive a motor vehicle. Code of Virginia § 46.2-301. However, if you drive that moped over 35 mph, then you risk being convicted of driving suspended, because according to the law you are now driving a motorcycle.
If your license has been suspended or revoked for a DUI related conviction, you cannot operate a moped. Code of Virginia § 18.2-266; 18.2-272. The law specifically includes mopeds in the definition of motor vehicle for the purpose of the DUI statutes.
Remember these important facts if you are driving a moped:
- You cannot drive a moped if you are suspended for a DUI related offense
- You must be over 16 and carry a photo ID
- You must drive it in the far right lane and below 35 mph
Please contact the traffic lawyers at Winslow & McCurry at (804) 423.1382 if you have any questions about the status of your license and whether or not you can legally drive a moped.