If you are a keen cyclist in Tampa and you also like to have a drink or two, then you should treat your cycle as if it was an auto when it comes to the law in Florida, as you can get a DUI for riding your bike.
You Can Legally Refuse an Alcohol Test When Stopped for DUI on a Cycle
Of the few cases of bicycle DUI in Tampa, the state was not given the opportunity to argue if the defendant refused to take a breathalyzer test. This is because the implied consent law is only applicable to motor vehicles and not bicycles.
Recent DUI on a Cycle Conviction
There was a recent criminal case in Florida when a defendant was pulled up for suspected DUI and then arrested for riding his bicycle while alcohol impaired. It was a third conviction for him and the earlier DUI conviction took place within 10 years. A third conviction, under Florida law, which has taken place within ten years will normally mean suspension of the driver’s license for a minimum of 10 years.
In this instance, the defendant pleaded no contest to the charge of DUI, but his defense lawyer placed an appeal for the 10 year suspension of the driver’s license. He presented an argument by stating that this did not apply to cyclists. The Florida court stood firm and said that the word “driver,” as referred to in Tampa and Florida DUI laws, means anyone who is in actual physical control of any vehicle on a road. “Vehicle” has a broad definition but generally means a device that is used by a person as a means of road transport. These definitions, how ever broad they may seem, do apply to bicycle riders under Florida DUI laws.
In summary, if you are DUI in a motor vehicle then you can also be considered DUI on a bicycle. The first case for a bicycle DUI case in Florida occurred in the 1980’s on Duval Street in Key West. Since that incident, DUI cases involving cyclists do take place and many of them have resulted in charges and subsequent prosecutions in the Tampa Bay district, which includes Pinellas County.
Avoid DUI on a Cycle by Not Drinking
If you are a cyclist the only sensible thing to is to avoid drinking alcohol if you intend to go out for a ride. If you don’t, you will have to be prepared to be stopped for DUI and go through the same process as a motorized vehicle driver. This involves submitting to sobriety tests and blood tests if required. This will mean you will have to take on the services of a DUI Tampa lawyer to help defend and fight for you and ensure that you do not get a conviction.