Under North Carolina currently you do not need to have a driver’s license in order to operate a moped on the road in our state. Anyone who is at least 16 years old and wears a safety helmet may drive a moped on the road in NC. In order to be considered a moped for purpose of NC law it is defined as “a vehicle that has two or three wheels, no external shifting device, and a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface.” G.S. 20-4.01 (27) d1.
Even though you do not have to have a driver’s license to operate a moped on the road in our state you still must comply with traffic laws that regulate vehicle operation. These would include moving violations such as speeding, yielding right of way, and driving while under the influence. If you are driving a moped it is important to keep in mind that you could still receive a traffic citation or be arrested for DWI.
There is talk among law makers in North Carolina to change the law governing mopeds to enforce those who operate mopeds to have a driver’s license and carry liability insurance. Last year the law makers attempted to pass bills which would require this although it did not pass. This movement stems from studies that have been done that show that those who operate mopeds are at a higher risk of injury if involved in an accident. Additionally some of the research has shown that those who operated a moped that was involved in an accident were intoxicated. While this may be true, I am not convinced that changing the law would have any effect. As the law in NC is written right now it is already illegal to operate a moped while impaired. Thus if someone is intoxicated operating a moped he or she may face DWI penalties right now.
If you should find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with a DWI you need to contact an attorney who has the experience and knowledge necessary to handle your case with the care it deserves. For a private, confidential consultation with one of our experienced DWI lawyers, please call 704-499-9000 or toll-free 877-374-5999 even on weekends or holidays.