Articles Posted in Bicycle DUI

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photo.200San Diego neighborhoods, including Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, Golden Hills, Mission Hills, Little Italy, and Downtown, have new DecoBike stations.  In fact, at least 80 rental stations have been installed, with a total of 180 planned.  Future expansion is supposed to include our beach communities.

As a DUI defense attorney, I see a possible issue with these bike rentals.  Although Mothers Against Drunk Driving, aka MADD, propaganda has brainwashed us all since grade school to believe if you drink an alcoholic beverage and drive a vehicle, you should be prosecuted for drunk driving, many people do not know it is also a crime in California to bike or cycle while under the influence, (BUI or CUI respectively).

If the bicycle is self-propelled, you cannot be charged under the standard driving under the influence statues.  However, you can be cited under California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5, which states, Continue reading →

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Summer 2014 is here! The summer brings BBQ’s, parties, boating, beach time, Sunday Fundays, cold beers and margaritas, and lots of fun times. It is important, however, to plan ahead so your fun does not end with criminal charges.

Often, people use their bikes as transportation when they know they are going to be drinking alcoholic beverages thinking it will prevent them being arrested for drunk driving. But, they are still at risk of being arrested and here is the law.

If the bike can be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, such as a motor bike, you can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. All the penalties of a standard drunk driving offense involving an automobile would apply. However, if your bike is self-propelled, you will not be subjected to the DUI statutes. Instead, you can be charged with BUI or CUI, biking or cycling under the influence, under California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5.

This code section specifically states: “…it is unlawful for any person 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. Any person arrested for a violation of this section may request to have a chemical test made of the person’s blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of that person’s blood…”

The biggest difference between a DUI and a BUI is that there is no specific blood alcohol limit in a BUI case. In a criminal DUI matter, the “Per Se” limit is a .08. Also, the penalty for a conviction for BUI is a fine of not more than $250.00, which is a substantially lesser penalty than in a standard DUI case.

Riding a bicycle while under the influence is a hard case for the prosecutor. These cases can be attacked on several fronts. If you have been arrested and/or charged with riding a bicycle while under the influence, you deserve to hire the Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, an exclusively DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case.

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pride drink.jpgAs San Diego Pride Weekend is about to kick off, San Diego Police have warned that they will be out in force looking for drunk drivers.

A DUI checkpoint will be conducted on Saturday, July 16th, between 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. The location of the roadblock was not published.

In the press release, the police department warned that those who are arrested for drunk driving can expect to go to jail, have their license suspended, and have to pay for vehicle storage fees, insurance increases, various fines and fees of the court and DMV, and attend DUI classes. A cost of over $10,000.

Before heading out to participate in the San Diego Pride activities, make sure you plan ahead. Use public transportation, designate a sober driver, or plan to stay at a local hotel or a friend’s home.

If you choose to ride a bicycle to the parade or festival, keep in mind that it is a misdemeanor to ride a bike while intoxicated, (see California Vehicle Code section 21200.5).

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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.

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biking beer.jpgFelony drunk driving charges for a motorcycle rider who allegedly crashed into a bicycle just after midnight on March 20th, according to 10news.com. The accident happened at the 2000 block of 31st Street in San Diego; however, the motorcycle driver was arrested at his home after leaving his passenger at the scene.

The bicycle rider suffered a broken pelvis and was taken to an area hospital. It is alleged that the bicyclist was also drinking prior to the accident and rode his bike into the path of the motorcycle.

In California, it is a misdemeanor to bicycle or cycle under the influence, CUI. Vehicle Code Section 21200.5 states, “It is unlawful for any person 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. Any person arrested for a violation of this section may request to have a chemical test made of the person’s blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of that person’s blood pursuant to Section 23612, and, if so requested, the arresting officer shall have the test performed.”

In order for this code section to apply, the bike must be non-motorized. If it is powered by a motor it will be deemed a vehicle, and the standard DUI vehicle code sections would apply.

The .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) presumption of a standard DUI is not required with CUI. This means that someone can be charged with this offense with a minimal amount of alcohol in their system. Typically, DUI defense lawyers fight low BAC charges because the prosecutor often has a hard time proving the case, thus resulting in a dismissal.

The maximum penalty for a drunk biking charge is a $250 fine. This is much less severe than a standard DUI.

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