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 on the road. 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 for questioning.
What Happens During a Bicycle Stop?
If you are riding your bicycle, the police may pull you over. Usually, the officers just want to get an idea of whether you are able to safely operate the bicycle or you are impaired. While those who have had DUIs while in their cars may think they are safe to ride a bike after having a few too many drinks, they should think again. Florida laws consider bicycles the same as any other type of vehicle, even though they are not motorized.
If a bicyclist seems to be impaired, the police can conduct the same types of field sobriety tests as they do for motor 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. They will also usually pat you down to make sure that you are not carrying 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 drug possession charges.
Can I Get Charged With DUI on a Bike?
Drinking while operating a bicycle can be treated just like DUI in a motor 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, it is possible that the officers may allow you to walk home, call a friend for a ride, or call a taxi or ride share. Consider yourself lucky if this happens.
If the police charge you with DUI, you could be facing penalties similar to those of driving a motor 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 can review all aspects of your stop 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 renting an apartment. If you were charged with DUI, contact our experienced DUI attorneys at Henderson Legal Group to schedule a consultation.