When you have had too much to drink, you might have the good sense to know not to get behind the wheel of a car. You might instead think that you should use another form of transportation like riding a bicycle to get yourself home safely.
In fact, riding a bike while drunk can be just as bad of an idea as driving drunk. You can avoid serious legal penalties by realizing that you can in fact get a DUI on a bike.
Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bicycle?
The answer to whether or not you get a DUI on a bicycle depends largely on what states in which you live or commit the offense. In fact, a majority of the states do not have any formal DUI bicycle laws on the books. Whether or not you get a bicycle DUI can sometimes be left up to the discretion of the police officer that detains you.
Twenty states actually have bicycle DUI laws on the books, however, which means that you can be detained and arrested for driving under the influence on a bicycle in these locations. The question of is it illegal to ride a bicycle drunk in states like Ohio, Colorado, Connecticut, and others is a resounding yes. You can incur penalties for DUI on a bicycle that are just as severe as those applied to people who operate motor vehicles while intoxicated.
Moreover, the states in which you get a DUI on a bicycle have laws that stipulate that you cannot operate any kind of vehicle including a bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The laws consider a bike to be a vehicle that you must be sober to operate.
The states differ from others that do not consider driving under the influence on a bicycle to be a chargeable offense. These states, which do not have DUI bicycle laws on the books, only mandate that people be sober while operating motor vehicles, which include cars, trucks, and boats.
You might wonder what kinds of dangers you could pose to the public if you decide to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The states that have bike DUI laws say that drunk bicyclists can pose a hazard to both private and public property. They also pose a danger to themselves and to other people and motorists that they encounter while riding a bicycle while inebriated.
With this in mind, you may want to learn what states have adopted drunk bicycling laws. By having this information, you can make a good decision about how to get home safely after you have had too many alcoholic drinks.
Legal Penalties for Drunk Bicycling
You might be surprised to learn that the 20 states with DUI bicycling laws punish drunk bicyclists to some degree just as harshly as it punishes first-time drunk drivers. A case in point is one that occurred recently in Ohio. A man was walking his bicycle home after a night of drinking when he was detained by a police officer.
The police officer stopped him initially for not having a headlight on his bicycle. However, the officer smelled alcohol on the man’s breath and asked the bicyclist to take a breathalyzer test. When the man refused, the police officer arrested him for DUI on a bicycle. The bicyclist was sentenced to four days in jail, had his driver’s license suspended for six months, and now has a criminal record in Ohio.
This case answers the debate of is it illegal to ride a bicycle drunk in this state as well as others with similar DUI bicycling laws. A DUI on a bike can have the same legal ramifications as drunk driving. You could find yourself subject to expensive fines and court costs, a suspended license, and even jail time.
However, just like a driver who has been charged with DUI while driving a car, you also have legal rights that must be protected after you have been arrested for drunk bicycling. You have the legal right to call and retain a DUI attorney.
Your attorney will know what your state’s DUI bicycle laws are and whether or not you can legally be charged with the offense. He or she can represent you in court and help you avoid harsh penalties that could impact your pocketbook and your freedom.
It might seem like a brilliant idea to ride a bicycle home instead of driving after a night of drinking. However, when you are in a state that has strict DUI bicycling laws, you could face severe legal punishments. Before you decide whether or not to ride a bike home while under the influence of alcohol, you need to learn what states have these laws and what the ramifications could be if you are stopped and arrested for this type of DUI offense.