While most cases of drunk driving involve a person operating a motor vehicle, it is also against the law to ride a bicycle on the street or on the road under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drinking and riding a bicycle can cause serious damage, either to property, to the cyclist and to other people. Those who ride a bicycle intoxicated can suffer the same detrimental effects as those who drink and drive. Their reaction time tends to be slower, they pay less attention and, in general, they are more dangerous to circulate.
The legality of drunken bicycle riding depends on where the events take place. Laws vary widely by state; however, many state bicycle DUI laws are similar in at least some respects.
Laws about riding a bicycle while intoxicated
The possibility of being accused of riding an intoxicated bicycle depends on the language used in the law of that state. If the law uses the term “motorized vehicle” for example, it may not be clear if the definition of “motorized vehicle” includes bicycles. Some laws may specify that riding a bicycle counts. However, if not expressly indicated, the jurisdiction probably does not consider bicycles or other transport devices operated by men, such as a skateboard or a scooter, under that definition.
In cases where the law defines the term in such a way as to include bicycles or in which an isolated law considers drinking and riding a bicycle to be illegal, most states apply similar penalties to both drivings while intoxicated. to ride a drunken bicycle.
State DUI laws on bicycle
People accused of drinking and riding bicycles must first analyze the laws of the state where they were accused. To ensure a conviction for drunken riding, the prosecutor, in most cases, must prove the following:
- that the defendant was riding a bicycle, which may fit within the definition of vehicle or motor vehicle;
- on a public highway;
- under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.
In many jurisdictions, the accused has the right to request a blood, alcohol or urine test to determine the level of alcohol or drugs in his or her body. Once the analysis is requested, the public order officials must verify that it is carried out. The results of the analysis can be presented at the trial to establish the presence of intoxicants in the defendant’s body. State laws vary widely, but the following examples can provide information about the specific laws of California, New York, and Colorado regarding drunken riding.
Law on drunk cycling in California
California treats cyclists the same as drivers in many aspects; however, it has a separate law to cover the fact of drunken riding. In California, intoxicated cyclists can be charged with CUI (riding a bicycle under the influence of substances) under Article 21200.5 of the California Vehicle Code.
The elements that are required to determine that a person is drunk on a bicycle in California include that the accused person:
- ride a bicycle,
- on a road,
- under the influence of alcoholic beverages, drugs or the combination of drugs and alcohol.
The term “road” is defined, for the purposes of the article, as a road or place of public maintenance and open to the public for vehicular transport.
The punishment for CUI is not as severe as in the case of DUI, perhaps because it reflects the social belief that bicycles are inherently less dangerous than motor vehicles. Those convicted by CUI generally face fines of up to $ 250.
Riding a drunken bicycle in New York
In the state of New York, the law explicitly requires that the person must be operating a motor vehicle to be charged with DUI (driving intoxicated) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). There is no separate law that addresses the case of drunken riding in New York, so people who drink and ride a bicycle there can not be charged with the crime of driving while intoxicated.
Drunk cyclists in New York can, however, be charged with other charges, such as drunkenness in public. A Penal Defender Hunter can help people accused of committing a crime in New York.
Drinking and biking in Colorado
Colorado state law defines driving under the influence of substances (DUI) as operating a motor vehicle or vehicle. The DUI law is found in article 42-4-1301 of the Colorado Revised Law and in CRS 42-4-102 (112), the term “vehicle” includes bicycles.
In Colorado, therefore, the person riding a bicycle with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.08 percent is presumed to be DWAI (driving with their faculties diminished). As for the people who ride a bicycle with a BAC (concentration of alcohol in blood) greater than 0.08 percent, the law presumes that the person was driving under the influence. However, the person accused of riding a bicycle under the influence does not lose points in his driving record as he would in the case of DUI.
Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction in question, the person can be accused of committing the crime of driving while intoxicated by riding an intoxicated bicycle. The penalties for the conviction also depend on the jurisdiction in which the charge is filed, but may include a fine, imprisonment, counseling or the suspension of your driving privileges. People accused of these crimes can consult A Hunter.
Driving or riding a bicycle while intoxicated are serious charges and should not be taken lightly. A Hunter with experience in criminal defense law can help by challenging the admissibility of the prosecutor’s evidence, for example, the results of blood alcohol tests. A Hunter can arrange a negotiated statement in some states or gather evidence and take court testimony in preparation for the trial.
Speak Today with A Hunter Qualified in Defense for Drunk Driving
This article aims to be useful and informative. But legal issues can be complicated and stressful. A Hunter qualified in drunk driving defense can address your particular legal needs, explain the law and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified Hunter in defense by drunk driving near you to discuss your specific legal situation.