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'Walking a scooter while drunk is a crime': court

'Walking a scooter while drunk is a crime': court

Published: 14 Apr 2011 16:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Apr 2011 16:54 GMT+02:00

Sweden's Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) has ruled that a teenager in Ulricehamn, in the south west of Sweden, is guilty of drunk driving after pedalling his scooter forward with his feet while inebriated.

It was in 2009 that the boy decided to go for a scooter ride after polishing off a bottle of tequila, but failed to start the engine.

Instead, he decided to pedal it forward with his feet but gave up after a few metres where he subsequently fell off.

Police breathalyser tests showed his alcohol blood levels to be seven times the legal limit. He was later charged with drunken driving.

While the Borås district court acquitted the boy, the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) later convicted him.

Behind the different rulings was an old Supreme Court ruling from 1958 where a person was charged with drunken driving after going for an inebriated ride on a moped with a faulty engine.

Taking a ride on a broken moped while under the influence was deemed the same as going for a bicycle ride, and led to a Supreme Court acquittal.

While the district court referred to the old ruling as a precedent, the Court of Appeal ruled that scooters of today could not be compared to a 1958 moped.

Therefore the court saw no other choice but to convict the boy of drunken driving.

The Supreme Court also found for the prosecution when the case was heaed in the highest instance following an appeal by the boy’s lawyer.

"Unlike the current case, the previous one concerned a moped with a faulty engine that could also be pedalled," the ruling read.

The court found that the scooter in question had retained its status as a 'motor driven vehicle' and that the boy therefore must be charged with drunken driving.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:28 April 14, 2011 by jackx123
geez. what a load of nonsense this is. convict a poor chap on, to say the least, very shaky grounds while there are murderers, illegal immigrants committing crimes, drug smuggling etc etc. i wonder how much this ridiculous case has cost the tax payers.
19:19 April 14, 2011 by StockholmSam
The point is that if he had been able to start the engine, he would have taken it for a ride and endangered other people, possibly killing someone. Therefore, the law must be strict and clear that if you are drunk, stay the f*** away from motorized vehicles. Give your keys to the bartender. Period.

Had this story been about a staggering drunkard who the cops left alone because he was walking his moped when they passed by but subsequently turned on and used to run over a baby, I am certain the outrage at the negligent cops would be endless.
21:05 April 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
Can a person rollerblade in Sweden while drunk? Just wondering....
22:17 April 14, 2011 by planet.sweden
With regard two wheeled transportation the Swedish police should really be focusing on:-

1. The craze among attention seeking motorcyclists to remove their silencer and roar around at full throttle "Look at me kids, I'm fat, middle aged and ugly, but heh you can't ignore me when I do this". Desperately sad.

2. Scooter kids riding around without helmets. When they fall off and splatter their brains across the tarmac they'll realise that riding around like this is a very bad idea.

3. Aggressive cyclists riding on pavements oblivious to the fact that its both illegal and dangerous, plus the trend among Stockholm cyclists to slice past any pedestrian attempting to cross or inadvertently stepping onto a cycle path. Yes you have right of way, but not a licence to kill. Try using a bell!
01:18 April 15, 2011 by larsmack
Hi, jack u are talking nonsense, crimes are committed by all not just immigrants

so u better know what to write in an intellectual forum like this where acting stupidly is not authorize
01:28 April 15, 2011 by itsnicehere
oh my god what is is online news for xpats doing must be a better one
03:27 April 15, 2011 by bira
...and I guess you can't hurt someone else by running them over on your bicycle while drunk, but that's not a crime? If you can argue that a moped of the 50s (I've rode one of those) is a bicycle when not started (peddling or not is irrelevant) then this scooter should have followed the same argument. That 50s moped probably weighed twice what this scooter weighs and would cause more damage than this scooter would just rolling down the street. StockholmSam, the law should NEVER be about what you CAN do, it's about what you do. I know you CAN stab someone with a kitchen knife, should we convict you of doing so since you likely own a kitchen knife and have likely used it? Give me a break, better yet, give the guy a break.
05:10 April 15, 2011 by Da Goat
the first guy killed would have been himself so it would have cost us a Darwin award! great catch police almost as good as catching the blackmailers who nobody will finger!
07:22 April 15, 2011 by Scott McCoy
Once again Swedes prove just how stupid they are.
09:31 April 15, 2011 by hogar2010
@Swedesmith Tried drunk rollerskiing in Spain. Didn't get caught by the police or crash. The second was a minor miracle
11:26 April 15, 2011 by eppie
@planet sweden

Maybe the Stockholm traffic users should stop the trend of not looking where they walk, drive or bike.

The same moron that walks on the bike lane and is surprised a bike passes him, will also walk on the street in front of a 10 ton truck......and I can tell you....the latter will seriously hurt.

Further I really wonder what your issue is. Do you really mind that there are 3 people in the whole of greater Stockholm that ride a bike? Isn't it better to worry about those thousands of swedes and people that grew up here don't know how to drive a car, but still somehow got a drivers license, somehow choose to drive a big car, and somehow also find it normal to use their phone while doing this.

In no other country swedes would be able to obtain a driver licence legally.
11:41 April 15, 2011 by johnny1939
one can kill people by peddling a bicycle It happens in NYC quite often and the cyclist is not even drunk in most cases. One can probably also kill someone or cause serious harm by rollerskating while drunk so just crawl or take a taxi or even better stay home!!
12:28 April 15, 2011 by eppie
@johnny1939

Theoretically right, but practically a dumb idea.

In Sweden it might be not really a problem, but let's take denmark or holland.

If police starts fining drunk people on bikes there is no 'reason' anymore to take the bike instead of a car when you are planning a heavy night out. (and convinced that you are a good driver even when drunk). So fining drunk bikers will increase the number of drunk cardrivers, and for that reason (because I think we can all agree drunk car driving causes much more victims than drunk biking) increase accidents.
13:01 April 15, 2011 by johnny1939
@eppie Taxis and designated drivers are the proper mode for traveling when one intends to drink alcohol of any kind no exeptions
13:08 April 15, 2011 by Rishonim
What about drunken mums with prams?
13:10 April 15, 2011 by eppie
@johnny1939

Again theoretically you are completely right, but you don't have much practical sense it seems.

Well maybe if half of the population wants to play taxi at 4 in the morning. And if students can afford 250 SEK every weekend for taxi costs. And if taxi's would stop driving far over the speed limits etc. etc.
13:55 April 15, 2011 by munched
Illegaal to walk your moped but ok to have sex with animals. Swedish law.. go figure.
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