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Motorcycle DUI/OVI

motorcycle duiThe roadways are already an extremely dangerous place to be. Adding alcohol to that already dangerous area has shown that it’s a recipe for disaster. Adding alcohol and a two-wheel vehicle can be even more alarming.

Operating a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. Not only are you putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk by causing potential accidents, you are letting your life hang by the thinnest of threads. There is no protection while on a motorcycle—you need to be extremely cautious and cognizant every time you are out on the roads.

The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. can provide legal counsel for those suffering from injuries caused by motorcycle accidents, as well as DUI and OVI defense.

A DUI is a DUI

In Ohio, driving under the influence and operating a vehicle under the influence are charges relating to motor vehicles. A motorcycle falls into this category, so don’t think that just because you’re not driving a traditional automobile with four doors means you’re exempt for the charges or the dangers of operating a vehicle under the influence. It doesn’t matter if you’re operating a car, truck, motorcycle, golf cart, or even a lawn mower—if you’re under the influence and operating a vehicle, you are putting yourself and others at risk and you will be charged.


The punishment for a motorcycle DUI can change your life forever. It is important to be aware of the penalties so you know what’s at stake before you risk your life driving a motorcycle under the influence.

The First Offense: After your first DUI offense, your license will be suspended at least six months to three years and you won’t be able to retain any driving privileges until 15 days have passed. You will have to pay a fine of anywhere from $375 to $1,075. Along with the fines and suspended license, you will have mandatory jail time. Depending on the severity of the case and the judge’s discretion, you will have to serve a minimum of three days in jail, or if you are granted the maximum sentence, six months in jail. However, in situations where a three-day jail sentence is ruled, you will be able to enter a Driver Intervention Program instead of serving any time. That’s only on the first offense.

The Second Offense: Within six years after receiving your first DUI, if you are convicted a second time, the punishments are even harsher. Your license will be automatically suspended for at least one year and could potentially be suspended for an additional five years. The minimum/maximum fine you will have to pay is at least $525 and up to $1,625. You may not be granted any limited driving privileges until 45 days after your arrest. It will be ninety days if you refuse to take the breath test. As far as jail time, you will spend anywhere from ten days on a first low tier test to twenty days on a higher test or refusal to six months locked away.

The Third Offense: If you manage to continue this dangerous habit and are convicted of a third offense in six years, your license will be suspended from two to 10 years; you’ll pay fines of $850 to $2,750; all of your driving privileges will be prohibited for 180 days and then an ignition interlock device will be installed; and you will spend at least 30 days in jail for a low tier test to 60 days for a high tier test up to one year.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth offenses— should you continue to drive under the influence—will lead to thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail.

Along with the guaranteed punishments listed above, you may additionally be required to partake in alcohol or drug addiction treatment programs, have your vehicle forfeited or immobilized, or require restricted yellow plates on your vehicle.

Things to Look For

If you’re wondering what law enforcement is looking for when trying to identify an impaired motorcycle driver, or would like to know how to avoid them yourself, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined a detailed set of signals to look for:

Signals that have a 50% or more probability of accurately identifying an impaired driver:

  • Weaving and swaying back and forth while on the motorcycle.
  • Unusual behavior including dropping objects, disorderly conduct, urinating at roadside, etc.
  • Trouble while turning, stopping, drifting, and leaning.
  • Problems with balance while at a stop.

Signals that have a 30 to 50% probability of accurately identifying an impaired driver:

  • Operating the motorcycle without lights at night.
  • Tailgating another vehicle.
  • Evasion and erratic movements while on a straight roadway.
  • Disobeying traffic laws.

A Complete List of Detection Signals

Vehicle in Motion

  • Eye fixation
  • Tightly gripping the steering wheel
  • Slouching in the seat
  • Gesturing erratically or obscenely
  • Face close to the windshield
  • Drinking in the vehicle
  • Driver’s head protruding from the vehicle

The Stopping Sequence

  • An attempt to flee
  • No response
  • Slow response
  • An abrupt swerve
  • Sudden stop
  • Striking the curb or another object

Personal Contact Phase


  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Soiled clothing
  • Fumbling fingers
  • Alcohol containers
  • Drugs or paraphernalia
  • Bruises, bumps, or scratches
  • Unusual actions


  • Slurred speech
  • Admission of drinking
  • Inconsistent responses
  • Abusive language
  • Unusual statements


  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Marijuana
  • “Cover up” odors like breath sprays
  • Unusual odors

Pre-exit Sequence

  • Forgets to produce both documents
  • Produces documents other than the ones requested
  • Fails to see the license, registration or both while searching through wallet or purse
  • Fumbles or drops wallet, purse, license, or registration
  • Is unable to retrieve documents using fingertips

The Exit Sequence

  • Shows angry or unusual reactions
  • Cannot follow instructions
  • Cannot open the door
  • Leaves the vehicle in gear
  • “Climbs” out of the vehicle
  • Leans against the vehicle
  • Keeps hands on vehicle for balance

Who to Call

In Cincinnati, Ohio, if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident caused by an impaired driver— or need DUI defense yourself— contact The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. to speak with an experienced attorney.