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Can You Get a DUI on a Bicycle in California?

Can You Get a DUI on a Bicycle in California?It’s no secret that it’s illegal to get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking, but did you know that you could also face stiff fines and penalties if you’re caught riding a bike while under the influence? Although the punishments for riding a bike while intoxicated are far less severe than they would be if you were caught driving, you still want to take measures to avoid this situation.

You can’t get a DUI on a bike, per se. A DUI involves driving a motor vehicle. You can, however, incur a CUI (cycling under the influence) charge.

How Does the Prosecutor Prove Guilt in a CUI Case?

The court is concerned with three main elements when it comes to CUI crimes:

  • Were you riding a bicycle?
  • Were you riding your bike on a highway or public area?
  • Were you under the influence of drugs or alcohol while riding your bike?

The State does not have to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) to prove your guilt in a CUI, unlike DUI situations. However, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as motorists, meaning you should not operate your chosen mode of transportation at or above 0.8% BAC.

If you’re arrested for a CUI, you may request to have chemical tests such as blood, urine, or breath tests conducted to prove the amount of drugs or alcohol you had in your system at the time. If you request these tests, officers must comply and administer them.

What Types of Fines and Penalties are Associated with CUIs?

If you’re found guilty of a CUI, you won’t likely face jail time unless your incident involved something greater than the CUI itself. That said, given the number of deaths and injuries incurred by intoxicated cyclists each year, the courts have put penalties in place to keep cyclists safe. You’ll face fines of up to $250, and the mark of the CUI will show up on your permanent record as a misdemeanor, which ultimately gives you a criminal record. If you’re under the age of 21 – but over the age of 13 – your driver’s license could also be suspended for a year (when eligible if under age 16).

Beyond the CUI itself, you may face other penalties, depending on the circumstance in which you were arrested. The following are a few common additional charges people may face:

  • Drunk in public – This is usually charged to people who are safety risks to themselves or others or to those who are impeding the flow of another person’s right to move.
  • Failure to ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway – You must right as close to the curb as possible.
  • Failure to ride with proper lights – This charge could happen if you’re cycling at night without proper equipment.
  • Hit and Run – You cannot leave the scene of an accident until you first identify yourself to other parties.

If you’re trying to fight any of these charges, the same best practices apply as if you were arrested for a DUI.

Have you been charged with cycling under the influence (CUI)? If so, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you through the process. While the penalties may be less severe for a CUI than a DUI, the impacts can still be everlasting, and you shouldn’t go through the process alone.

Call Los Angeles DUI attorneys Artz & Sturm Law Group today: 310-820-1315

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