When people read or hear the term DUI, they automatically think of the millions of incidents in which a driver has operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They think of a car driver speeding or running into a vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist while drunk. Many people do not take the time to consider other modes of transportation as a basis for a DUI. For example, not many people realize that a bicyclist is subject to a DUI charge in Florida.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. So let’s take a look at how to stay safe on the road and learn about what “Biking Under the Influence” means in the state of Florida.
The Definition of a DUI
The dictionary definition of a DUI is driving under the influence, which is also what the acronym represents. However, the Florida statutes are a bit different from simply those terms. In the state of Florida, a person can be charged with a DUI even he or she is not on a major highway or outside the boundaries of a parking lot. Proof of DUI can be examined through actions, incidences or the Breathalyzer test.
The “Vehicles” That Qualify for DUI
The state of Florida says that a person does not have to be inside of an actual vehicle to receive an accusation or conviction of DUI. That offender can operate a motorcycle, ATV, bicycle and even a wheelchair. All of these “vehicles” can cause accidents when an intoxicated person is behind the “wheel.”
Examples of DUI on a Bicycle
Many people have been charged with DUI on bicycles in Florida, so it is not a new law. The DUI penalties are the same for bicycles as they are for cars. A first-time offender can get up to 180 days in jail on the first offense. That person can also get one year of probation, a $500 fine, a license suspension, community service, DUI School and more.
Avoid operating any vehicles—bikes included—after you have been drinking or while you are impaired. If you plan on drinking, plan ahead and designate a sober driver, or call a cab for a ride home. DUIs are expensive and emotionally taxing. So always think before you drive and before you bike.
Contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. for Legal Protection
Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. can help if you or a loved one have received a DUI in the state of Florida. Our goal is to work on your case as your friends and protectors. We have been defending our clients for over a decade, so you can count on the rock-solid and grounded stability that we will offer you during your legal process.
You can schedule a consultation by calling us at (727) 478-4125, or completing our simple online query form. We will contact you immediately and schedule an appointment for strategy development.