When you go out to a bar, you might think that safest way to get home is on your bike. However, that’s not the case. If you get drunk and bike home, then you could find yourself guilty of a bicycle DUI. Like a regular DUI, you could find yourself facing serious criminal charges. Here’s everything that you should know about bicycle DUIs.
How the Law Views Bicycle DUIs
It can be difficult to understand DUI laws because every state has different laws. However, for the most part, every state has some similarities. For example, most states have laws that make driving a vehicle while drunk illegal. The variation comes into play with the specific definition of a vehicle. In Washington, a vehicle is any device that you can move on a public highway. The law specifically states that it includes bicycles.
Even state that don’t specifically issue bicycle DUIs can charge you for biking while drunk. In those states, they might charge you with public drunkenness or reckless driving. No matter where you live, biking drunk can have serious consequences.
Biking Drunk in New Jersey
In New Jersey, DUI laws are limited to operating a motor vehicle. While operating a motorcycle is illegal when you are drunk, operating a bicycle is legal. However, that does not mean that there are no legal consequences. Biking under the influence can result in disorderly conduct charges. If you face these charges, you could get jail time of six months or less or a fine of as much as $1,000.
Another potential charge is public intoxication. Whether or not you ride a bike, being drunk in public can get you in police custody. Police could take you into custody and keep you until you sober up. Additionally, they could put you in an alcohol treatment center.
Finally, you could face charges for ignoring traffic laws. On your bike, you need to follow traffic laws. If you fail to do so, then you could get in trouble with the law.
Are the Consequences for a Bicycle DUI Serious?
You might think that the consequences for a bicycle DUI would be less serious than another offense. However, that’s not the case. Whether you drive a car or a bicycle, the court treats the charges the same way. You could face the same penalties for a bicycle DUI that you could for a car DUI.
However, there is one saving grace when it comes to your DUI charges. The consequences are up to your judge. Although the state offers suggestions for penalties and maximum penalties, there are no mandatory minimums. If a judge feels that your bicycle DUI is less serious than a car-related one, then he might punish you accordingly. You could end up with a fine and time at an alcohol treatment facility.
There is no guarantee that a judge will take your DUI lightly. In the past, people with bike DUIs have faced some serious consequences. It depends on your judge and your lawyer. For this reason, it’s important to choose your legal representation carefully. With a sound legal strategy, your lawyer could get you a good outcome.
The Worst-Case Scenario
If you don’t fight your charges, you could end up with serious consequences. As a result of your conviction, you could lose your job. The legal fees and high fines could also put you in debt. Your future is at the mercy of a judge. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up in jail. As unfitting as the punishment might seem, jail time could be the outcome of your drunk biking.
Can you get DUIs on other vehicles?
A bicycle DUI isn’t the only thing that you need to worry about. If you drive drunk on a variety of other vehicles, then you could get DUI charges. However, the laws regarding vehicles and DUIs are complex. They vary from state to state. In some states, the law is up for interpretation.
For example, Alaskan police issued a DUI to a man in an inflatable raft. Although he was resting in his raft, he was too drunk to “drive.” After the police received results of his breathalyzer, they arrested him. The inflatable craft loosely met the definition of drinking and boating laws in Alaska.
Other DUI Vehicles
In some states, there are some odd vehicles that can get you DUI charges. Here are a few of the strangest vehicles that you can’t drive while you’re drunk. Keep in mind that only some states prohibit drunk driving in these vehicles. It depends on your local laws.
- Ride-on lawn mower
- Horse and buggy
- Motorized wheelchair
If you want to avoid a DUI, then you should familiarize yourself with local DUI laws. Until you do, you should avoid driving any vehicles when you drink. A decision to drink and operate a vehicle can put your future in jeopardy.