When it comes to riding your bicycle while drunk, a lot of people don’t see it as a big deal. And, while it’s true that you can cause a lot less damage on a bike than in a car, it still isn’t smart to ride your bike while intoxicated. Not only can you get hurt, but you can still be charged with a DUI in Greenville for riding while drunk.
Most states tend to lump drunk bicycle riding in the same category as drunk driving. This means that, outside of South Carolina, you can be charged with DUI even if you’re on your ten-speed. Thankfully, South Carolina takes a different approach.
Legally, you can’t be arrested and charged with DUI if you’re riding a bicycle. There are two exceptions to this rule. First, if your bicycle is powered by electric, it is technically considered a vehicle. This means that it does fall under a vehicle for purposes of the DUI statute. Second, if your bike is gas-powered, you can be charged with DUI. The rationale behind this is that a bike that is powered by gas or electric goes a lot faster than a pedal-pusher and can cause more damage. It is also more likely to cause an injury if you do crash.
This does not mean that you’re off the hook if you’re caught riding your bicycle while drunk. Here, we’ll talk about what these consequences may be. We’ll also explain what to do if you are charged with DUI in Greenville, South Carolina.
You Can Still Be Cited if Caught Riding Your Bike While Under the Influence
If you’ve been out at a party or BBQ, you may think it’s safer to ride your bike than drive your car. This is especially true if you plan on having a few cocktails while you’re out. But when you’re on your bicycle, you are very vulnerable. Often times, motorists do not see people on bicycles. If there isn’t a bike lane available, you’ll have to ride in the flow of regular traffic. The last thing you want to do is put your safety in jeopardy by riding your bike while you’re intoxicated. That’s why you could be charged for a DUI in Greenville for riding your while while intoxicated.
If you are riding your bike down the road and are swerving, the cops have every right to pull you over. They can check to see if you’ve been drinking or appear to be under the influence of any other substance. If they believe you are, they can ask you to take a breathalyzer. Or, they may ask you to do a field sobriety test. Essentially, they just want to make sure you’re safe to ride your bike home. If they feel that you’re too drunk to operate your bike, they can do one of two things. First, they may issue you a citation for public drunkenness. Or, they could charge you with disorderly conduct.
The good news is that neither of these offenses require you to do any real jail time. They also carry fines much lower than a DUI in Greenville. And, most importantly, you won’t have to worry about the penalties for a DUI. With that said, it’s still not a good idea to ever ride your bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What if Your Bicycle is Powered by Gas or Electric in South Carolina?
If your bike is powered by gas or electric, then you’re subject to the same rules as any other driver. You can be stopped for DUI and asked to perform the field sobriety test. Or, you may have to take a breathalyzer test. If you fail either of these, you’ll be arrested and charged for a DUI in Greenville. The officers won’t care that you’re on a mechanized bicycle. To them, you’re violating the law and they need to proceed accordingly.
People arrested for DUI on their bike are subject to the same penalties as a driver cited for DUI. You will risk the following:
- Potential jail time
- License suspension
- Alcohol and drug counseling or treatment
- Ignition interlock device depending on the level of offense
Rather than face these consequences, just play it safe and call for a ride home.
Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer in Greenville Right Away
If you are arrested for DUI in Greenville, it’s in your best interest to call and talk to one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers right away. There is too much at risk to try to handle this on your own.