California Man Convicted for Riding Scooter While Drunk

Bird scooter

The prosecution was Los Angeles' first motorized scooter DUI incident.

A California man has been convicted of drinking and operating an electric scooter, the first successful DUI prosecution of its kind in Los Angeles.

Nicholas Kauffroath, 28, was riding a Bird electric scooter when he knocked over a 64-year-old pedestrian on the sidewalk near the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sawtelle in West Los Angeles on Aug. 4, City Attorney Mike Feuer said. 

The victim fell to the ground and suffered a knee abrasion, but Kauffroath failed to stop and instead continued down the street to a nearby apartment building. 

Authorities were alerted to the incident and located Kaufforath, who was taken into custody and had his blood alcohol level measured. It came in at .279, more than three times the legal limit, Feuer said. 

Kauffroath pleaded no contest to one count of operating a motorized scooter while under the influence and one count of hit-and-run, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday. 

He was sentenced to 36 months of probation, fined $550, required to complete a three-month DUI alcohol program and was ordered to pay restitution to the 64-year-old pedestrian victim. 

He was also instructed not to operate a motorized scooter with any alcohol in his system, officials said. 

"Drinking while operating a vehicle, a bike — or a scooter — is not only illegal, but can lead to serious injury or worse," Feuer said.  "This conviction demonstrates our office’s continued effort to enforce our drunk driving laws and make our streets and sidewalks safer."

The prosecution of Kauffroath was the first motorized scooter DUI incident charged in Los Angeles.