If you are operating your bicycle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above the legal limit, you can be arrested for DUI. Most people think DUI laws only apply to motor vehicles, which simply isn’t true. This can result in unfortunate consequences when someone chooses to ride their bike instead of their car, believing that they are making a safer choice.
Whether in a car or on a bicycle, operating either of these vehicles with a BAC of 0.08% or greater is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, those riding with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% can be arrested for “driving while ability impaired” (DWAI), which is a less serious charge than DUI but can still result in jail time.
Are the Penalties Different for a Bicycle DUI?
No. All of the potential penalties for a DUI involving a car or truck are available for a bicycle DUI. That said, a judge may exercise discretion to apply more lenient penalties. This is less likely to be the case, however, if the bicycle DUI occurred following a conviction for any previous DUI.
Depending on the circumstances of a DUI conviction, potential penalties can include:
- Up to two years in jail
- Up to $1,500 in fines
- Up to five years of license suspension
- 12 points incurred against one’s driving record
- Up to 120 hours of community service
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
As you can see, some of the potential consequences of a bicycle DUI can impact your driving privileges – even if you were never arrested or convicted of a DUI while driving your car.
How to Reduce Your Risk of a Bicycle DUI Arrest
The best way to deal with a bicycle DUI arrest is to avoid one from ever happening. You can do this by following many of the same advice given to drivers, such as never getting on your bicycle when you’ve had too much to drink. You can also have a friend come pick you up if you think you’re too intoxicated to ride.
You should also avoid these behaviors, which can increase your risk of suspicion for DUI:
- Riding on the sidewalk or outside of a designated bike lane
- Holding onto a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle
- Carrying another person on your bicycle (unless it was built for this purpose)
- Impeding traffic on your bicycle
- Failing to obey traffic laws on your bicycle
- Such behavior can not only put you at risk of a collision with a motor vehicle, but it can draw unnecessary attention and suspicion from law enforcement.
Orr Law Firm Can Help
You may have not previously believed a DUI while riding a bicycle was possible, but we hope you have a better understanding of how DUI laws apply to bicyclists. Should you find yourself accused of riding your bicycle while intoxicated, our attorneys can provide the legal services and support you need.
Learn more about Orr Law Firm and how we can help during an initial consultation. Contact us today to get started.