Can I Get a DUI on a Bicycle?

You may think that cycling under the influence is harmless, but have you ever stopped to wonder if you can get a DUI on a bicycle? The answer may surprise you.  


In Florida, under state law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, and therefore, any cyclist operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs falls under the same legal obligations as any other driver on a motor vehicle.  


Our attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law explain the legal complexities surrounding biking while intoxicated and provide insight on what you need to know about defending these charges.  



Florida’s DUI Laws: How They Apply to Bicyclists 


Under Florida Statute 316.193, an individual could commit a DUI offense “if they are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state.” The term “vehicle” includes bicycles and other human-powered means of transport. So yes, you can get a DUI on a bicycle in Florida. To be more precise, you’re at risk if your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher.  


DUI charges can include: 


  • Hefty fines 
  • Mandatory DUI school 
  • Probation 
  • Imprisonment 


It is possible, however, to mount a successful defense against a bicycle DUI charge, but before we discuss defense strategies, let’s take a look at probable cause.  


Exploring Probable Cause 

You might wonder what constitutes ‘probable cause’ in a bicycling DUI case in Florida.  


To pull you over, law enforcement officers must  

have a valid reason known as “probable cause.”  


This typically boils down to exhibiting signs of impairment, such as swerving, stumbling, or failing to adhere to traffic rules.  


Remember, just like drivers, cyclists are required to follow traffic laws. This means: 


  • Stopping at red lights 
  • Signaling your intentions 
  • Not riding on the wrong side of the road 


If you fail to stick to these rules, the police have every reason to pull you over, and if they believe you are impaired, it could lead to a DUI charge.  


Remember, probable cause is not always clear-cut. Police officers are human and can make errors in judgment. If the officer lacks adequate probable cause for stopping and testing you while on your bicycle, all subsequent DUI evidence could potentially be tossed out of the courtroom.  


Bicycle DUI Defense  


Getting a DUI on a bicycle does not mean you’re automatically guilty.  


A few defenses we often use include: 


#1. Improper Procedure 


When processing a DUI charge, law enforcement officers must adhere strictly to specified protocols and provide correct instructions on how to perform field sobriety tests. If they deviate from these guidelines, it may compromise the integrity of any collected evidence and could result in the dismissal of the charges against you.  


#2. Testing Improprieties 


All forms of sobriety testing, whether it’s a field, breath, or blood test, are subjected to stringent standards to ensure accuracy. However, if these standards were violated in any way, the results of the tests could be deemed unreliable.  


  • Field Sobriety Test Issues: The accuracy of field sobriety tests is often a contentious issue in DUI cases. These tests, which may include standing on one leg, walking a straight line, or following a moving object with your eyes, are supposed to assess your level of impairment. However, they’re not foolproof and can be influenced by several factors. For instance, an uneven road surface or a medical condition can affect the outcomes.  


  • Questioning Breathalyzer Accuracy: A breathalyzer is a common tool used by law enforcement to determine a person’s BAL. However, these devices are not infallible. They require regular maintenance and calibration to provide accurate results. Skilled legal counsel can question the accuracy of the machine used in your case, possibly casting doubt on the evidence.  


Read More > The Science Behind Breathalyzer Accuracy & Flaws  


#3. Inadequate Evidence 


Your attorney could argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired while riding your bicycle. 


No matter how convincing the police report might be,  

remember that it is, in essence, a piece of storytelling.  


We can scrutinize the police report and any accompanying materials (like video footage) for inconsistencies or unverified assumptions. They might be minor details, such as weather conditions, or major aspects, like the sequence of events.  


#4. Medical Conditions 


Occasionally, you may find that a medical condition significantly contributes to your seemingly impaired state. Conditions such as diabetes or hypoglycemia, for instance, can cause symptoms mimicking those of intoxication.  


#5. Other Environmental Factors 


Various factors can affect a bicyclist’s balance and coordination beyond alcohol or drug impairment. It could very well be that rough road conditions, bad weather, or even a defect in your bicycle caused you to swerve, seem unsteady, or fall over.  


Supporting evidence, like photographs of the road, the weather report, or expert testimony regarding your bicycle’s condition can be used to support these claims and cast doubt on your alleged impairment.  


Read More > Common Misconceptions About DUI Defense  


Tampa DUI Defense  


Although it’s possible to receive a DUI charge as a bicyclist in Florida, it isn’t the end of the road. There are defense strategies available that can help reduce penalties, or, in some cases, dismiss the charges altogether.  


At Stechschulte Nell Law, our experienced lawyers are dedicated to providing strong defense and guidance through every step of the legal process. We understand the seriousness of the situation and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences. 


Don’t face this challenge alone. Contact us today for a FREE consultation at 813-280-1244 and take the first step toward resolving your case with skilled legal representation. 

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