You might think that the term "driving under the influence" or "DUI" refers to operating a motor vehicle. This is true, but California
law prohibits intoxicated drivers from operating other types of vehicles
too, such as bicycles.
Under CA VC 21200.5, it’s illegal for anyone to ride a bicycle on
a public roadway while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination
of the two.
Cycling under the influence is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not
to exceed $250 and no jail time. However, a conviction for CUI will give
you a criminal record, so it is worth fighting.
Under Section 21200.5, if the police suspect that a bicycle rider is under
the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can request the bicyclist to submit
to a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath, or urine test to determine
if the officers’ suspicions are right.
Cycling Under the Influence and Implied Consent
California law states that as a driver, you give "implied consent"
for chemical testing if law enforcement arrests you for driving under
the influence of alcohol or drugs. The same rule applies to bicycling
under the influence, and refusing to submit to chemical testing can lead
to the same legal penalties.
Refusal can lead to a variety of consequences, including driver’s
license suspension regardless of the outcome of your case. In the event
of a conviction, you could face additional imprisonment.
Generally, it is unwise to refuse to submit a blood, breathe, or urine
test after any DUI arrest, including bicycling under the influence. The
prosecution may use your refusal against you. If you take the test, a
skilled DUI defense attorney can help you create a strong case against
the test results.
Other Types of "Vehicles"
In California, there is a specific law that prohibits bicycling under the
influence, but California's general DUI law leaves room for a variety
of other "vehicles." For example, police officers can arrest
you for operating a boat or even an ATV under the influence of drugs or
alcohol. The same law could apply to go carts, riding lawn mowers, mopeds,
and golf carts.
So, the next time you drink you’re better off staying away from cars
and bicycles and either calling Uber or Lyft, or going places the old
fashioned way – by walking!
Arrested for bicycling under the influence in Orange County? To fight your charges,
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation!