There are some people who wake up at 5 am for a 50-mile bike ride, and there are those who stumble upon their bicycle at 5 am after a long night of drinking, ready to come home. While this may seem like a better idea than getting behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks, it’s important to note that DUI charges are just as serious for bicycle riders as they are for drunk drivers.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
While riding a bicycle may seem like a practical and safer option, the reality is that there are more than 800 bicycle accidents a year — and alcohol was reported in 37% of the fatal crashes. And if you’re the one who causes an accident while you’re riding a bike under the influence of alcohol, you may be held liable for that death and charged with manslaughter.
Florida Bicycle Laws
Florida Statute 316.2065 establishes all bicycle regulations within the Sunshine State. Specifically, it states that every person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle. By the same token, Florida law excludes scooters or similar devices from the definition of bicycle.
What this means is that — regardless of how you’re feeling — under the law, you would be considered to be riding a bike under the influence of alcohol if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more. It is difficult to calculate how many drinks would cause such a result, since there are many factors that affect how you metabolize alcohol. These include your weight, height, sex, whether you had a meal with your drinks, and whether you’re taking certain medications.
Penalties for Riding a Bicycle Under the Influence
If you have no prior record, the penalty for getting convicted of a DUI is a fine between $500 and $1,000, and up to six months in jail. The fees and imprisonment time increase if you’re a repeat offender, and you may also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation and report regularly to a probation officer. If you’re convicted a third or a fourth time, the offense becomes a felony, which comes with significant prison time and the loss of certain civil rights upon your release. You would also have to disclose you’re a convicted felon in any housing or job applications if asked about it.
How can an attorney help?
A DUI attorney can help reduce the impact of a DUI conviction on your life. For example, if you were not feeling impaired prior to riding your bike, a lawyer could question the accuracy of the device used to measure your blood alcohol level. They would also interrogate the police officer who issued your ticket, as well as any available witnesses. If you refused a breathalyzer at the time of the arrest, an attorney would look at the accuracy of a subsequent urine or blood test.
An attorney can also help you get your charges reduced to reckless driving. This would reduce the applicable fines and jail time. Reckless driving also constitutes a misdemeanor even if you have a prior conviction.
Every case is different, and nothing can be guaranteed. The only way to determine whether your charges could be diminished is to consult with an experienced DUI attorney.
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Were you charged with biking under the influence? We can help.