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Bicycling Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs in Orange County


You may have a bad experience with a BUI road trap after party and a little too much "alcohol." The state police may stop you at a "highway" and question you if you are drunk. You cannot lie as the police can smell alcohol in your breath. The police may submit you to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) as in a DUI / DWI arrest. In case you are convicted for CUI, you can be fined up to $250 and even be jailed.

Each year in California, over one hundred people are killed and thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Please appreciate that bicyclists share a complex traffic environment with other larger forms of transportation. Safe bicycling involves more than wearing the proper safety equipment and learning the rules of the road.

California law defines bicycle as a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears and having one or more wheels. Vehicle Code provisions specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5 stipulate that every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

In a BUI arrest, the prosecutor must prove that the bicyclist was bicycling while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that his bicycling was impaired to such an extent that he was not able to care for himself.

The costs and fine related to a BUI arrest are difficult to assess as the quantum varies with situation. This includes the cost of a lawyer, the bicycle impound fees, the cost of the BUI fine besides other legal hassles.

If you are arrested for a Bicycling under the influence charge, it will always be prudent to consult an experience lawyer near you to determine what laws will apply to you. If arrested, there are several ways to defend a BUI charge, one of which is to challenge whether you were in fact riding on a highway or a private roads. Another approach is to challenge the results of a chemical test. A California attorney with experience in fighting BUI cases can aggressively fight the charges and minimize the negative consequences.

Scott D. Hughes is a criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California practicing in State and Federal Court who represents clients accused of bicycling under influence of alcohol and drugs.

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