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December 16, 2016


When a person has a license suspension for a DUI, or other matter, the first thing the person tries to do is minimize the impact of the suspension on his life. In other words, he searches for alternative means of transportation. Sometimes the person is left to rely on third parties. Other times, especially due to scheduling and geographic inconveniences, the person looks for different vehicles that he can operate. When looking for a different type of vehicle the person many times assumes that the license suspension only applies to automobiles.


Does the license suspension apply to motorcycles? California defines a motorcycle as having more than a 150cc engine size and no more than 3 wheels. (A two wheeled motorcycle equipped with a sidecar is included.) Additionally, California requires all motorcycles operators to have a valid C class license and M1 license. For a license to be valid, it cannot be suspended. So, if a person has a license suspension it would include a suspension of a M1 license. That person cannot operate a motorcycle to avoid a license suspension.


What about a motor driven cycle? A motor driven cycle is a cycle with a 149cc or smaller engine. This type of vehicle also requires a class C and M1 license. And just like the motorcycle, a license suspension would prevent that person from operating a motor driven cycle.


Would a person be allowed to drive a moped or motorized bicycle with a suspended license? Generally speaking, a moped has 2 or 3 wheels, cannot go faster than 30 miles per hour, and can have pedals for human propulsion. A motorized bicycle has pedals and an electric motor that is less than 1,000 watts and can go no faster than 20 miles per hour using human or motorized propulsion. A M1 or M2 license is required for both of these vehicles. So, if a person’s license is suspended he is precluded from operating a moped or motorized bike.


Then a person should be allowed to operate a motorized scooter with a suspended license, right? A motorized scooter has 2 wheels, a handle bar, and floorboard. The DMV does not require registration but does require a valid license for operation. So, it is illegal to operate a motorized scooter with a suspended license.


What about a pocket chopper? A pocket chopper is a miniature motorcycle which is illegal to operate on the streets of California. So, it is not a legal form of transportation and cannot be used to get around a license suspension.


In conclusion, there is no motorized vehicle that the state of California will allow a person with a suspended license to operate. A person with a suspended license can either ride a bike that is not equipped with a motor or rely on third parties as a means of transportation.

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About the Author

At the Law Offices of Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman, our experienced team of DUI / Drunk Driving defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressively defending people arrested for DUI.