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Cycling Under The Influence in Ohio

Cycling Under The Influence

DUI On a Bicycle Attorney in Cincinnati

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding Ohio DUI / OVI law is that you are immune from drunk driving charges if you are riding a bike.  This is incorrect.  In Ohio, you can be charged with DUI / OVI for driving any “vehicle” under the influence of an assortment of intoxicants.  And “vehicle,” in Ohio, is defined very broadly — “vehicles” include many modes of transportation, from bikes and skateboards to cars and tractors.  Simply put, Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 prohibits the operation of any vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Thus, if you frequently ride your bicycle under the influence, you may be putting yourself at risk for severe, life-changing criminal penalties.

Experienced Ohio DUI / OVI attorneys understand what it takes to win the day in court.  If you or a loved one have been charged with biking-under-the-influence, the single most important decision you will make is who will represent you in court.

Can You Be Arrested for Cycling Under the Influence?

Generally speaking, whether or not you can get charged for bicycle DUI / OVI depends on what state you live in.  But again, in Ohio, you can be charged and convicted of DUI / OVI if you are caught driving any vehicle (including bicycles) under the influence.  If you choose to operate a bicycle under the influence, you are putting yourself in grave danger.  Ohio state law acknowledges that even if a cyclist only harms himself by riding under the influence, his injury could have a profound effect on others, particularly friends and family members.  This is the reason why Ohio criminalizes bicycle DUI / OVI just as strictly as normal drunk driving.

What’s on the Line?

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving a bicycle under the influence, you will need a better defense strategy than “I didn’t know it was illegal.”  As the old saying goes: “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”  Having an experienced Cincinnati DUI / OVI on your side can make all the difference.  Because the penalties for driving a bicycle under the influence are virtually identical to that of a normal vehicle, it is important to understand what’s at risk.  If convicted or driving a bicycle under the influence, you may lose your normal driver’s license, be forced to pay fines in excess of $10,000 and may even face jail time, depending on the circumstances.

Can a Bicycle DUI / OVI Affect my Driver’s License?

The short answer is YES.  As mentioned above, the penalties for driving a bicycle under the influence are virtually indistinguishable from the penalties for driving a car under the influence.  Thus, even if you are on a bicycle and cited for DUI / OVI, charges can and will affect your normal driver’s license.  If convicted, you will be subject to the same penalties and restrictions as a motor vehicle DUI / OVI.

What Are The Penalties For Cycling Under The Influence?

Unfortunately, Ohio law does not distinguish between regular DUI / OVI penalties and bicycle DUI / OVI penalties.  In order to be charged with DUI / OVI, you must have a .08% BAC or higher if you are over the age of 21; .02% if you are under the age of 21; .04% if you are operating a commercial vehicle.  Simply put, if you are convicted for biking-under-the-influence, you may face extremely severe consequences.  Ohio bicycle DUI / OVI penalties can include:

  • First offense
    • 3 days to 6 months imprisonment
    • $250 to $1,000 in fines
    • 3 to 6 months driver’s license suspension
  • Second offense
    • 10 days to 1-year imprisonment
    • $350 to $1,500 in fines
    • 1 to 5 years driver’s license suspension
  • Third offense
    • 60 days to 1-year imprisonment
    • $800 to $10,000 in fines
    • 3 years to a lifetime driver’s license suspension

In addition to the basic DUI / OVI charge itself, you may also face public intoxication or improper bicycle equipment charges.  Improper bicycle equipment charges can arise from riding a bicycle with no brakes, having a seat that is too high, or not using a proper light or reflector after dark.  If you are facing any of these ancillary charges, you need an attorney that understands the intersection between bike law and DUI / OVI law in Ohio.

What Are My Rights?

If you are pulled over while on a bicycle, you have the right to refuse breath tests/field sobriety tests when asked by a police officer.  You can simply refuse to answer or state “I wish to remain silent.”  As with just about any interaction with the police, it is always smart to say as little as possible.  That said, even if you refuse to take a field sobriety test, you can still be placed under arrest, assuming the officer has sufficient “probable cause” to suspect that you’ve been drinking.

Biking-Under-the-Influence Defense Strategies

Ohio DUI / OVI attorneys know that officers must have a good reason (or “probable cause”) for pulling you over in the first place.  If your arresting officer did not have probable cause for your arrest, you may be able to get your entire case dismissed.

Experienced Ohio DUI / OVI lawyers will employ any or all of the following defense strategies:

  • Challenging the legality of your arrest generally
  • Holding police accountable for mistakes regarding the handling of evidence
  • Challenging the validity of your breath test results
  • Demonstrating that mouth alcohol, diabetes, a low-carb diet, or GERD affected your test results

In some cases, any of these defenses will likely be enough to suppress evidence against you and help you regain control of your life.  Don’t let Ohio DUI / OVI charges ruin your future.

Contact Our DUI/OVI Attorneys

If you are facing bicycle DUI / OVI charges, it is imperative that you have an attorney on your side that understands what is at stake.  More importantly, you need an experienced Cincinnati DUI / OVI lawyer that understands how the complexities of Ohio law.

If you or a loved one have been charged, the single most important decision you can make is who will represent you in court.  A skilled Cincinnati attorney who focuses on DUI / OVI cases can evaluate all of the evidence and help defend you in court.