You probably know that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a crime in Texas and across the country. But what about riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol?
Can you be charged with DWI for riding a bicycle while intoxicated in Texas? If so, what are the penalties for operating a bicycle under the influence?
If you were arrested or charged with a criminal offense for riding a bicycle while intoxicated, you should contact a Gatesville criminal defense attorney right away. Our skilled criminal lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard will identify the best defense strategy in your case to protect your rights and freedom.
Can You Be Charged with DWI for Riding a Bicycle While Intoxicated?
It is very unlikely that you could be charged with driving while intoxicated for operating a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, in rare cases, the police may arrest a bicycle depending on the following factors:
The bicyclist’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC); and
Whether the bicyclist was involved in an accident that injured, killed another individual, or caused property damage.
While a bicyclist may not face DWI charges, he/she may still be charged with public intoxication or another criminal offense, depending on the circumstances surrounding their case.
If you were charged with a crime for riding a bicycle while intoxicated, contact a criminal defense attorney to review the details of your unique case and determine how you can defend yourself against the charges.
Is Operating a Bicycle Under the Influence a Crime in Texas?
Many people who own a bicycle in Texas wonder, “Is operating a bicycle under the influence (BUI) even a crime?” Currently, Texas law does not specifically make it a crime to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or another impairing substance.
A person can be charged with DWI for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. The definition of the term “motor vehicle” is rather broad, which is why some prosecutors may interpret that bicyclists fall into the category of motor vehicles.
Under Texas Penal Code § 32.34, a motor vehicle is any device that can transport people or property on a highway, except “devices used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.”
While bicyclists can be considered motor vehicles due to the ambiguous language in Texas law, it is not common for bicyclists to be charged with DWI for riding a bike while intoxicated.
What Are the Penalties for Riding a Bicycle While Intoxicated?
If you were charged with DWI for riding a bicycle while intoxicated for operating a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face the following penalties:
Up to 180 days in jail
A maximum fine of $2,000
A license suspension of one year
These penalties apply to first-time DWI offenders in Texas. If you are charged with DW a second or subsequent time, you could face harsher penalties.
What Other Criminal Charges Can You Face for Riding a Bike While Drunk?
Even if you avoid DWI charges for drunken bicycling in Texas, you could be charged with other criminal offenses, including public intoxication. You may also face civil liability if another person was hurt as a result of your drunk pedaling.
Public intoxication. Public intoxication charges are not a rarity in Texas. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.02, a person can be arrested for public intoxication when a person is in a public place while impaired by alcohol or drugs to the degree that poses a danger to themselves or the public. Riding a bicycle while intoxicated could amount to a dangerous activity to give the police grounds to arrest a bicyclist for public intoxication.
Civil liability. Even if a bicyclist avoids criminal charges for DWI or public intoxication, they can be held liable for any damages and losses they cause to other people as a result of their drunken bicycling. For example, if a bicyclist’s drunken pedaling causes injury to another person, that person could hold the bicyclist responsible for their injury.
Our lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard are prepared to help if you have been charged with a crime for riding a bicyclist while impaired.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
It is equally important to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you are charged with DWI for driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle while intoxicated.
A knowledgeable attorney will protect your future and fight for your best interests if you are charged with DWI, public intoxication, or another crime. Here’s why you need a criminal defense attorney in your case:
An attorney will help you navigate the process. Facing charges is a complicated and confusing process. You need an attorney to explain the charges to you and identify possible defense strategies to avoid a conviction or get the charges dismissed. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you can be certain that your case is in good hands.
An attorney will protect your rights. Often, criminal defendants’ constitutional rights are violated when being arrested for a crime. A skilled attorney will review the circumstances of your arrest to determine if you can get the charges dismissed due to a violation of your constitutional rights.
An attorney will build a solid defense. There are many potential defense strategies that can be used to fight against DWI charges in Texas. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, your attorney may argue that the police officers did not administer a field sobriety test properly, the police did not reasonable cause to stop you, or a breath test produced a false-positive result.
There are many other defense strategies that are available to DWI defendants in Texas. It is imperative to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your particular situation and identify the most appropriate defense strategy for your unique case.
Speak with a Gatesville Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our reputable and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in DWI cases throughout Texas. We also have experience defending clients facing DWI charges for riding a bicycle while intoxicated. Let’s discuss your case during a free consultation. Call 254-501-4040.