Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DUI Appeal - California Says that Pocket Bike is a Vehicle

In People v. Varela, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2011 WL 1126036 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.), 11 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 3771, while riding a pocket bike, defendant Martin Varela evaded a police officer who was attempting to stop him. A two-wheeled device with a motor and a seat for a driver is called a “pocket bike.” On appeal the defendant claimed that the pocket bike was not a motor vehicle because, inter alia, it was not designed for roadway travel. Analyzing the issue, the appeals court wrote:
“A ‘vehicle’ is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.”

Section 415 defines a “ ‘motor vehicle’ [a]s a vehicle that is self-propelled.” Under the broad definition of motor vehicle it is not required that the vehicle be legally self-propelled on a highway. (citation)

Section 473 defines a “ ‘pocket bike’ [a]s a two-wheeled motorized device that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and that is not designed or manufactured for highway use.”

A pocket bike comes squarely within the definition of motor vehicle. To hold otherwise would require that we ignore the plain meaning of sections 415 and 670.

Varela argues that legislative history refers to a pocket bike as a “device” and not a vehicle. (Citing Sen. Transportation & Housing Com., Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 1051 (June 7, 2005); Sen. Rules Com., Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 1051 (June 30, 2005).) But we are compelled by statute to conclude that a pocket bike is a type of device that comes within the definition of a motor vehicle. There is nothing inconsistent about referring to a motor vehicle as a device.

Nor did the trial court err in instructing the jury that a pocket bike is a motor vehicle. Because a pocket bike falls squarely within the statutory definition of a motor vehicle, it is a motor vehicle as a matter of law."

Looking for a Top DUI DWI Attorney? Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at http://www.1800dialdui.com or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!

No comments:

Blog Archive