Man in motorized wheelchair gets DUII conviction thrown out

The Oregon Court of Appeals overturns a DUII conviction of a man who was operating a motorized wheelchair. The state argued that a motorized wheelchair counted as a vehicle.

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday threw out the conviction of a man who was found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicants for operating his motorized wheelchair while drunk in a crosswalk.

James Richard Greene was under the influence of alcohol and other drugs when he piloted his wheelchair into a Lincoln County crosswalk and struck the side of a moving pickup truck on Oct. 16, 2012, according to an Appeals Court summary of the case. Greene was injured, and about a month later, the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office charged him DUII.

A jury found him guilty after a two-day trial in June 2013.

But the Appeals Court agreed with Greene’s lawyers that Greene was a “pedestrian” under the definition of Oregon law and his motorized wheelchair didn’t fit the legal definition of a “vehicle” under the circumstances of his case.

The Appeals Court, however, didn’t make any explicit findings about whether different circumstances could lead to a DUII conviction, such as if a drunk person was driving a motorized wheelchair down the lanes of a road or in a public parking lot.

Via Oregon Live