Drinking and Biking: Don't Do It!

Drinking and Biking: Don’t Do It!

January 6, 2020

When you think of DUI or DWI cases, you’re probably imagining motor vehicles—but you can actually be charged with DUI/DWI for operating a number of non-standard vehicles, including boats and bicycles. While you might consider biking home after a night of drinking to be a far safer choice than getting into the car, you can still cause serious harm to yourself and others.

So, can you get a DUI/DWI on a bike? Generally, yes, it’s possible, if you cause a serious accident while biking under the influence. Every state treats drunk biking differently, but we suggest avoiding drinking and riding a bike in Lubbock, TX entirely.

Bicycles and DWIs in Texas

Under Texas law, biking under the influence is not explicitly defined as a crime. Theoretically, you could certainly bicycle home after going out to a bar or a friend’s home and drinking, but if you get into an accident that causes property damage or harm to yourself or others, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a DWI charge.

How is that possible? It comes down to the definition of “motor vehicle” according to Texas state law. Some prosecutors argue that bicycles fall under the definition provided in Section 32.34(a)(2) of the Texas Penal Code. This section defines motor vehicles as “a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.” While this may sound like a weak argument, a judge may think differently, particularly if the accident caused serious harm.

Some people think that because a bicycle has less capacity to harm as opposed to a car, truck, boat or other motor vehicle, then they’re safe. If you get into an accident and the police find that your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, however, you may be charged with a DUI/DWI. Prosecutors can argue that your bicycle should fall under the definition of motor vehicles, and judges will take into account the psychological and emotional impact that hitting a drunk bicyclist has on the other parties. They may find that a compelling enough reason to define your bike as a motor vehicle and pursue charges.

Incidentally, drinking and riding a bike in Lubbock, TX doesn’t just lead to criminal charges. You may also be liable in civil court for negligence, which requires a far lower standard of proof than criminal cases. In that case, you might not be put in jail, but you could be financially liable if a judge or jury finds you were negligent in drinking and biking.

Talk to a DUI/DWI attorney today

At the Law Office of Rob Biggers, we offer skilled representation for a variety of cases, including DUIs of all kinds. If you’ve been charged with a DUI/DWI, we can help you by providing expert advice and zealous representation. We work tirelessly to ensure that you get the best and most just outcome possible. Call us today for a consultation.

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