While it may seem a lot less harmful than getting behind the wheel of a
car after drinking, riding a bicycle when under the influence of alcohol
or drugs is a crime in California. Bicycles are not technically considered
vehicles under California law, but they must submit to the same rules
of the road as motorists do. This includes following the traffic laws,
using turn signals, stopping at red lights and stop signs, and not riding
under the influence of alcohol or
Penalties for Biking While Impaired
To be charged with cycling or bicycling under the influence (BUI), it must
be proven that the accused was riding a bicycle, that they were riding
the bicycle on a highway (meaning any publicly maintained road), and that
they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol while cycling.
Penalties for bicycling under the influence:
- $250 fine
- A criminal record
- Suspension of a driver's license if under 21
- Additional drunk in public charge
Cycling under the influence is illegal in a large part due to the number
of bicycle accident fatalities that are linked with riders who consumed
alcohol. BUI is a definite safety issue, especially as it pertains to
drunk bicyclists, namely because a drunk bicyclist is far more likely
to be killed than a sober bicyclist. Intoxicated cyclists are far less
likely to wear a helmet, and they’re at an increased risk of sustaining
traumatic brain injuries than sober cyclists, which can double the costs
of hospital care.
What Are the Defenses to BUI?
Defenses for bicycling under the influence are similar as those for
driving under the influence (DUI). It can be claimed that the rider was not under the influence, that
they seemed impaired for other reasons, or that the arresting officer
did not follow proper procedures surrounding the arrest. Ultimately, the
facts of your unique case would determine which defense strategy is best.
While a conviction for cycling under the influence does not carry the same
harsh penalties that driving under the influence can, it can still leave
a rider with a
criminal record – which should be avoided at all costs.
If you or a loved one has been charged with BUI in Orange County, the Law
Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can work with you to build a solid
defense. To learn more about your case,
contact our firm for a
free consultation with the