Rather than drive a vehicle, many people believe that they can avoid DUI charges if they ride their bicycles instead. In this blog post, we will explore the complexities of bicycle DUI laws in the Golden State and provide some useful tips for avoiding legal trouble.
Understanding California's Bicycle DUI Laws
While it may seem surprising, it is indeed possible to get a DUI while riding a bicycle in California. Under California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5, it is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle on a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.
However, the penalties for a bicycle DUI are generally less severe than those for a motor vehicle DUI. A first-time bicycle DUI offender may face a fine of up to $250, but no jail time. Additionally, a bicycle DUI does not result in the suspension or revocation of a driver's license, unlike a motor vehicle DUI. It's important to note that these penalties apply only to individuals who are 21 years of age or older. For those under 21, different rules and penalties apply, including potential driver's license suspension.
Tips for Avoiding a Bicycle DUI
To avoid getting a DUI while riding a bike in California, consider the following tips:
- Know your limits: Be aware of how alcohol and drugs affect your ability to ride safely. If you're unsure whether you're too impaired to ride, it's best to err on the side of caution and find an alternative mode of transportation.
- Plan ahead: If you know you'll be consuming alcohol or using drugs, make arrangements for a safe ride home before you start drinking or using. This could include designating a sober friend to drive, using a rideshare service, or taking public transportation.
- Follow traffic laws: Just like motorists, bicyclists are required to follow all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and red lights, signaling turns, and riding in the same direction as traffic. Obeying these laws will not only help you avoid a bicycle DUI but also reduce your risk of accidents and injuries.
- Use proper safety equipment: Wearing a helmet, using lights and reflectors, and wearing bright or reflective clothing can help you stay visible to drivers and avoid accidents. While not directly related to DUIs, these safety measures can help prevent situations where your impairment could lead to an accident or injury.
What to Do If You're Charged with a Bicycle DUI
If you find yourself facing a bicycle DUI charge in California, it's crucial to take the matter seriously and seek professional legal help. The experienced attorneys at Wapner Jones, PC can provide the guidance and representation you need to navigate the complexities of California's bicycle DUI laws and protect your rights. With a thorough understanding of the legal system and a commitment to personalized client service, our team is well equipped to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
If you do find yourself facing a bicycle DUI charge, don't hesitate to contact Wapner Jones, PC at (559) 257-4707 for experienced legal help.