Getting nabbed for biking under the influence may sound silly, but it’s not. Indiana is one of many states that treat cycling while intoxicated the same as driving a car while intoxicated. If you were arrested for this charge, there’s no time to waste. The penalties are steep, but an Indianapolis DUI attorney may be able to help.
To protect your reputation, your time, and your future after being accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVWI) – even if that vehicle was your bike – contact Hessler Law, PC at (317) 886-8800 today.
Biking While Drunk in Indiana
Indiana Code 9-30-5-1 states that operating a vehicle while intoxicated is illegal. Nowhere in the statute does the definition narrow down to “motor vehicles.” Law enforcement is allowed to stop bicyclists and have them take a breathalyzer, or order them down to the station for a blood test. Because no distinction is made between bicycles and motor vehicles in this Indiana law, riders are subject to implied consent laws for chemical testing and portable breath tests.
What Crimes Can You Be Charged With?
Law enforcement must have probable cause to pull you over. So, if you’re riding your bicycle and the police stop you and find your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at least 0.08 percent, you’ll be charged with a class C misdemeanor. If your alcohol concentration is 0.15 percent, you’ll be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If you endanger a person—for example, you have to swerve hard to avoid hitting a pedestrian on the sidewalk—you can also be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
If you have a prior conviction for an OVWI within the past five years, it’s a level 6 felony. The same is true if you were riding the bicycle with a passenger under 18 when you’re 21 or over, and your BAC is 0.15 percent or higher.
It is a Level 6 felony to cause serious injury to anyone while riding your bike under the influence. The new offense will be bumped up to a level 5 felony if you have a previous DUI conviction on your record within the past five years.
If you cause another person’s death in a traffic collision, and your BAC was at least 0.08 percent, you face level 5 felony charges for your actions.
What are the Penalties for OWI on a Bicycle?
The penalties for riding your bicycle while impaired are as follows:
- Class C misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail, and fines reaching $500
- Class A misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000
- Level 6 felony – Six to 30 months in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
- Level 5 felony – One to six years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000
It should be noted that a felony conviction will bar you from owning firearms, voting, applying for federal funding, and more. As we’ve seen, any prior convictions can affect how the offense will be charged, and you will be sentenced. That’s why it’s vital for you to contact a dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested.
Contact an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer for Help
Biking home, to or from work, and around town is a great way to get outside and grab some exercise. What many don’t realize, however, is that you can be charged with a criminal offense if you’re caught biking while under the influence of alcohol. If you find yourself in this situation, you need the skilled and aggressive help of criminal defense attorney Sean Hessler.