If you ever watch Live PD or other police reality shows, you have probably seen the police in Florida stop a bicyclist and question his or her sobriety. Generally, the police will only stop a bicycle rider if he or she is posing a danger to him or herself or others. Bike riders must obey the regular traffic laws. That being said, when the police encounter someone riding in the middle of the street, going through a stop sign, or riding at night without lights, they will usually stop that person.
What Happens During a Bicycle Stop?
If you are riding your bicycle the police can “pull you over.” Usually the officers just want to get an idea whether you are safe to ride the bicycle or whether you are impaired. While those who have had DUIs in their vehicles may think they are safe to ride a bike after having had a few too many drinks, they should think again. Florida laws consider bicycles the same as any type of vehicle, even though it is not motorized.
If a bicyclist seems to be impaired, the police may conduct the same types of field sobriety tests as they do for motorized vehicle drivers. Although you do not need to have a license to ride a bicycle, the police will ask for some form of legal identification. The police will also usually pat you down to make sure that you do not have a weapon.
If you have a bicycle basket, pannier, or backpack, the police may search it if they feel that you have committed a crime. The most common reason for a search is the odor of marijuana. If the officer smells pot, he or she could request to search your property. If you have any illegal drugs or weapons on you, you could face charges for those.
Can I Get Charged With DUI?
Drinking while riding a bicycle could be treated just like DUI in a motorized vehicle. Many times, the police have the discretion to decide how to handle the situation. If you are cooperative and have not had a prior DUI, the officers may allow you to walk home, call a friend for a ride, or call a taxi or rideshare. Consider yourself lucky if this happens in your case.
If the police charge you with DUI, you could be facing penalties similar to those of driving a motorized vehicle while under the influence. If you were stopped on a bicycle and charged with DUI, you will want to do everything possible to fight the charges. An experienced Brevard County DUI attorney will review all aspects of your case and help you fight the charges. You certainly do not want to end up with a DUI on your record since it can prevent you from getting employment, getting into college and even getting an apartment. If you were charged with DUI, contact our experienced DUI attorneys at Henderson Legal Group to schedule a consultation.