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Biking While Intoxicated, Can I Get Arrested For Drunk Driving?

bike and beer.jpgWhile intoxicated, Richard W. Walker, 20, was riding a dirt bike in the street in Channahon, Illinois. He was arrested and charged with DUI and other crimes, according to heraldnews.suntimes.com.

In California, it is illegal to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug, or a combination of both, while driving a vehicle. The question is whether a dirt bike is considered a vehicle for purposes of applying the DUI sections of the Vehicle Code.

California Vehicle Code Section 670 states: “A ‘vehicle’ is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.”

California courts have interpreted this code section in Tomson v. Kischassey, bicycles without motors are not considered vehicles, and in People v. Jordan, bicycles with motors are considered vehicles under the Vehicle Code.

In this case, since the dirt bike had a motor, it would be considered a vehicle and the defendant would be charged with drunk driving. If the bicycle was self propelled, the defendant would not face DUI charges; however, he could be charged with violating California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5, which makes it illegal “to ride a bicycle upon 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.” The penalties for a conviction under this section are less severe than a standard DUI.


If you have been arrested and/or charged with riding a bicycle while under the influence or drunk driving in San Diego, you need to hire an exclusively DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case. For a free, confidential consultation, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.