Can I Get a DUI While Riding a Bicycle in California?

California is known for its beautiful landscapes, bustling cities, and a culture that embraces outdoor activities and eco-friendly transportation options. One of those popular alternatives to cars is cycling. With its mild climate and numerous bike lanes, California provides an inviting environment for cyclists to explore the state on two wheels. However, it's crucial to understand the legal implications and potential consequences of cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The question arises: Can you get a DUI while riding a bicycle in California?

The Short Answer: Yes, You Technically Can

The short and direct answer is yes, you can get a DUI while riding a bicycle in California. However, it is not the same kind of DUI you would be charged with if you had been operating a motor vehicle.

According to California DUI law, a motor vehicle is defined as a vessel that is self-propelled or not powered by a human. Therefore, a bicycle is not considered a motor vehicle, unless it was electronic or otherwise motorized.

Yet, California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5 specifically cites “cycling under the influence” as a chargeable violation. But a conviction only results in a fine of up to $250 and no jail time.

Keep in mind, cycling DUI is still deemed a misdemeanor offense, which could appear on your criminal record. Despite the fact that it is a minor offense, having a criminal charge associated with alcohol or drugs can negatively impact your personal life and professional reputation.

Tips for Avoiding a DUI on Your Bike

To avoid a DUI charge while cycling, it's best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether. However, if you do plan to drink, make sure to have a designated driver or use public transportation to get home. You can also consider using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. Additionally, wearing a helmet and following all traffic laws can help you avoid a DUI charge.

In conclusion, cycling under the influence is a serious offense in California. If you're facing a DUI charge for cycling under the influence, it's important to seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney. At Braden & Tucci, we specialize in DUI defense and can help you navigate the legal system.

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