Most people know that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in a DUI charge in criminal court, as well as the loss of driving privileges. Many people are shocked – shocked! however, to learn, that riding a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol carries the very same penalties as driving a car. This is because, in Georgia, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle under Georgia state law, Georgia Code § 40-6-291.
Georgia DUI Laws
According to Georgia Code § 40–6–391,
person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(5) The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or
(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood.
Put another way, in Georgia, because a bike is legally considered a vehicle, you can end up charged with a DUI if you have any amount of marijuana or another drug in your system or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, regardless of an ability to drive safely.
Consequences of Biking Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs in Georgia
There are many potential consequences of a biking under the influence of alcohol or drugs conviction in Georgia. The crime is a misdemeanor, not an infraction. Here's what you can expect in the way of consequences of a conviction.
In Georgia, cycling under the influence is a misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail as well as a fine of up to $1,000. It is rare that a person receives the maximum sentence allowable by law when convicted of a misdemeanor, like biking under the influence. However, one can reasonably expect to be put on probation if convicted of biking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While on probation, you will be expected to remain law-abiding. You will also be expected to maintain contact with a probation agent. You must notify the probation officer of any changes of address or phone number. The terms and conditions of probation will include obtaining a chemical assessment and following the recommendations of the assessment. This can include chemical dependency treatment. Treatment can be either on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the needs of the individual. Some people may not need chemical dependency treatment. However, an assessment is required to make this determination.
Whether or not someone needs chemical dependency treatment, the court may order you to attend a “DUI School” as a condition of probation. The DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Programs are managed by the Department of Driver Services in the state of Georgia. This 20-hour class can be taken in the evening over the course of several weeks. Alternatively, some locations offer a two-day weekend program. The cost of the program is $355. It includes an assessment, a study guide, and the classes.
Driver's License Consequences
For DUIs involving a car, a person can face the loss of driving privileges for a certain prescribed period of time. The length of time of the revocation of driving privileges varies based on prior offenses as well as the amount of alcohol measured in a person's system at the time of arrest. Fortunately, these factors have no impact on cyclists who are convicted of a DUI. A DUI-related to biking does not result in the revocation of one's driving privileges.
A misdemeanor conviction carries with it potential jail time, probation, and/or fines. But a misdemeanor conviction also carries with it a criminal record. That could mean, among other things, problems with job applications or attaining loans later in life.
Defenses to DUI Cases
Many people are unaware there are a wide variety of legal challenges one can use in DUI cases. As Georgia DUI attorneys who know both the law and the science behind alcohol concentration measurement, we provide comprehensive DUI defense. Challenges can include:
- The constitutionality of the stop;
- The appropriateness of the materials and methods used for a blood draw;
- The maintenance of the instruments used to measure the alcohol concentration in blood, breath, and urine; and among other challenges,
- The interpretation of the test results.
Facing a Cycling Under the Influence Charge in Georgia?
If you are facing DUI charges, you need an attorney well-versed in DUI laws in the State of Georgia. Our Georgia DUI attorneys fight vigorously on our clients' behalf. But time is of the essence. If you get a DUI this weekend, you will have court on Monday. We can appear with you at this court hearing, making certain your rights are protected at every turn. As your personal representative, we draw on two decades of experience to make certain you receive the due process you are entitled to.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. We answer your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.