In the state of Florida — surprisingly — courts have ruled that it is possible to be arrested and convicted of DUI on a bicycle, says Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore. There are no precise figures available, but arrests of individuals riding a bike while (allegedly or actually) under the influence of alcohol or other substances are more common than one might imagine.
Implied consent is not applicable for a bicycle DUI. Implied consent refers to the fact that the operation of a motor vehicle — generally a car — on the roads in Florida necessarily means that the operator has consented to certain DUI testing when requested by a law enforcement officer, says Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore. Most often, this means a breathalyzer test.
The relevant section of the Florida statute states that committing a DUI involves a “vehicle,” which has been interpreted very broadly since its enactment A bicycle is not a motor vehicle, but can be taken on the public streets and roadways. There is also a colorable argument that bicycles, sharing the streets with cars, can pose a hazard to the safe flow of traffic and pedestrians if an operator is impaired, according to Broward DUI attorney William R. Moore.
For purposes of driver’s license suspension, the DUI must be in a motor vehicle, such as a car. The courts are split as to whether the typically mandatory driver’s license suspension periods are required when the DUI did not occur on a motor vehicle.
The third District Court of Appeals in the state of Florida dealt with this issue in 1987. The DCA concluded that, based on the statute, the Florida legislature had a broad definition of vehicle in mind when enacting the statute. Interestingly, the Florida Supreme Court has not weighed in on whether a DUI can be committed on a bicycle, and this opinion remains that legal standard as the only appellate opinion on the issue in this state.
A survey of other states shows that they have taken a varied approach. A number of jurisdictions have maintained that a DUI can only be committed on a motor vehicle, which can be more than just a car or truck. For instance, hooking up a lawnmower engine to a living room recliner and driving it around could result in a DUI arrest. Other states include non-motor vehicles, such as bicycles and even individuals who are riding on horseback.
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For more information about this type of case contact:
Defense Attorney William R. Moore (954) 523-5333