If you’re like a lot of people, you might have thought that "driving
under the influence" only refers to cars, trucks, and other vehicles,
but that’s not the case in California. After reading this, you may
never view your bicycle the same.
According to California law, bicycles are subject to the same traffic laws
and restrictions as cars. In other words, it is a crime in California
to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.
So, if you thought it was OK to have a couple of drinks and jump on a bicycle,
you want to think again! According to V.C. §21200.5, "it is
unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a highway while under the
influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug…"
Drunk Biking is a Misdemeanor
If law enforcement suspects that you are "drunk biking," you
may be asked to submit to
field sobriety tests or chemical testing. Breath, blood, and urine tests are all ways that
law enforcement can use to determine whether a cyclist is under the influence.
Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or
drugs is punishable by a $250 fine. While a $250 fine may seem less severe than
jail or probation, biking under the influence is still a misdemeanor and
will show up on your criminal record.
If you are under the age of 21, a cycling under the influence conviction
could lead to driver’s license suspension. Typically, license suspension
will last for one year. If the cyclist is too young to carry a driver's
license, the DMV could prohibit him or her from obtaining license for
an additional year.
Defending 'Drunk Biking' Allegations
If a police officer sees you riding a bicycle in an irregular pattern,
especially in a public place or near drinking establishments, the officer
might assume that you are riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Intoxication isn't the only reason that a bicyclist could swerve, though.
A heavy gust of wind, a piece of debris, and many other factors could
lead to this behavior as well. To learn more about your rights after a
cycling under the influence arrest, contact a DUI defense attorney today.
Contact the DUI Queen for a free case evaluation!