Can I Get a DUI On a Bike in California?


Can I Get a DUI On a Bike in California?

If you’re under the influence and riding a bike in California, can you be charged with a DUI? The technical answer is no because a DUI applies only to vehicles. However, cycling under the influence is still illegal in California and has been since 1985. You can be charged with a CUI, or cycling under the influence, and while you won’t face jail time in most cases you can be exposed to hefty fines. Here are some common defenses your attorney might use to defend you in court.

Behavior Was Erratic For Other Reasons

Erratic behavior might be one of the reasons that an officer pulls you over for suspicion of cycling under the Influence. However, sometimes that behavior might be attributed two other causes. Just because the behavior that you were exhibiting with similar to that of somebody under the influence doesn’t mean you were actually drinking. For instance, you might have been rushing home for an emergency, or avoiding something the officer didn’t see. A DUI attorney can make these arguments for you in a court of law.

Physical Appearance

The officer might also charge you with a CUI due to your physical appearance. Maybe you had red, watery eyes or slurred speech. Maybe you had a flushed face or an unsteady gait. Other reasons for this appearance could be that you had a red face from physical exertion, watery eyes because it was windy or you had allergies to something you were cycling next to, or that your speech was different because you were nervous or you have a speech impediment. Again, these are defenses that your attorney can make for you in a court of law.

Observation Time

Legally, an officer can’t pull you over just because you swerved once or because he observed you doing one thing wrong. He or she has to observe a repeated pattern of behavior. The officer must, by law, observe you for enough time to make sure that your behavior is constant and consistent. If there’s no way the officer could have done that, your attorney can argue on your behalf that the officer didn’t follow proper protocol.

Field Sobriety Test Wasn’t Accurate

Walking in a straight line, touching your nose, and other similar tests are what’s part of something called a field sobriety test or FST. However, these tests are not always reliable. Your legs could be shaky from biking a long distance. Maybe the ground was uneven underneath you. If you’re on a loud, busy road that could lead an officer to believe that you didn’t follow her instructions when really you just didn’t hear her instructions in the first place. Ground slope, nerves, distractions, and natural physical coordination are all factors your attorney might use to disqualify the FST results.

Breath Tested Too Soon

A breath test cannot give an accurate reading if you have eaten or done other activities in the last 15 minutes. An officer must wait 15 minutes after pulling you over to give you a breath test. During this period of time an officer has to have you under observation the entire time so that they can make sure you are not engaged in any behavior that could cause a false positive reading. These behaviors include smoking, drinking anything, belching, eating, and vomiting. All of these events move alcohol from your stomach to your mouth and can cause a false positive reading. Be sure to inform your attorney if you were tested within 15 minutes of doing any of these activities. Your attorney may be able to get that breath test disqualified as a form of evidence.

Improper Conduct

Generally, there is certain conduct that an officer must present and protocols that have to be followed. If an officer didn’t follow the protocol, broke a law, took evidence he or she had no right to take, gave you a field sobriety test under unfair conditions, didn’t wait long enough to give you a breath test, or committed some other kind of breach of protocol, that can work in your favor. Your attorney might be able to argue that the improper conduct of the officer negates the evidence that he or she collected.

It’s very important to hire a DUI attorney if you’ve been accused of cycling under the influence. Although cycling under the influence is arguably a less serious offense than driving under the influence, it can still show up on your record and can be used against you later in life. It may still be considered by employers and colleges, and to some it may indicate a history of improper use of alcohol. Always have an experienced and qualified DUI attorney by your side when you go into the courtroom. Get a consultation today and take the first step down the road of defending your freedom and your future.


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