If you have ever watched one of those reality television shows about police officers, then you know that you can be arrested for DUI on a bicycle. And, for the most part, this is the rule. Most states do consider it DUI if you are riding your bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This may sound silly. After all, how much damage could somebody on a bike do to a car or SUV? First of all, you’d be surprised how much damage a bicycle can actually cause. Second, this isn’t the only factor the legislatures consider when deciding how they want their state’s laws to be written. Our Orangeburg DUI lawyers meet with clients every now and then who were arrested and charged with DUI while they were riding their bikes. However, these cases are special in the sense that they meet one of the two legal exceptions to this law in South Carolina.
Here, we will discuss how the laws in South Carolina work when it comes to bicycle riders and DUI. We will also explain whether there are exceptions to the law in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Finally, we will explain how our Orangeburg DUI lawyers can help get the charges against you dismissed or at least reduced.
If you have questions about your own DUI case, it’s a good idea to call our office. There is too much at stake to try to handle this on your own.
Most States Will Charge You with DUI Even if You’re on a Bike
Depending on what state you live in, there may be a chance of your being arrested for DUI while riding your bicycle. When we tell clients that this is the case, they usually laugh at us. They can’t imagine the cops pulling somebody over who is riding a bike. It’s one thing if you are driving an ATV or dirt bike. But a regular bicycle? It’s hard to believe.
The truth is that many states do have laws that prohibit drinking and riding your bicycle. There are several reasons why certain states keep these laws on the books:
- Their main concern is for public safety, not the inconvenience of pulling someone over while they are riding their bike.
- If you are riding your bike after drinking, there is the chance that you could cause an accident. For example, you may pull your bike out into the middle of the road, causing a multi-car pileup.
- The State is looking out for your own safety and protection as well
- It costs the State millions of dollars in medical bills when people without health insurance get hurt while riding their bike under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
South Carolina is One of the Exceptions to the Rule
The good news for you is that South Carolina does not have a law that states you can be arrested for DUI while riding your bike. However, there are still exceptions to this rule. The reasons listed above still apply in South Carolina. Even if there aren’t any laws on the books that prohibit cycling drunk, that doesn’t mean it isn’t frowned upon. Plus, if you cause any damage to somebody in an accident while riding under the influence, you need to be held accountable. The police have an obligation to arrest and charge you. The charges could range from something like disturbing the peace to causing a public nuisance.
In addition to these situations, there are two cases in which a person in South Carolina can be arrested for driving their bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The first exception is when someone is riding a bicycle that is powered by electricity. E-bikes are very popular today. If you choose to ride a mechanized bicycle, you will be held to the same standards as someone who is driving a car. The second exception is if you are riding some other vehicle that is legally categorized as a vehicle. For example, if you had a bicycle and enhanced it so that it has a motor somehow, you can be arrested and charged with DUI.
Your Orangeburg DUI Lawyer Can Argue That These Exceptions Don’t Apply to You
One of the things your Orangeburg DUI lawyer will do is argue that you don’t meet either of these exceptions. This does not always work. If your bike was clearly running on electricity or gas, you can’t hide that. In cases like this, your criminal defense attorney in Orangeburg will have to try to poke holes in the States case against you for DUI.
One way they may do this is by proving that the arrest itself was unlawful. Perhaps the officers didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place. Or they may be able to demonstrate that you were not physically riding your bicycle at the time you were stopped. It all depends on the facts of your case.
There’s Always the Chance That Your Orangeburg Criminal Defense Attorney Can Negotiate a Favorable Plea Deal
We suggest that anyone who is arrested and charged with DUI call our office within hours or days of their arrest. The sooner you hire a seasoned Orangeburg DUI lawyer, the sooner they can get started on your case. DUI cases in South Carolina move along quickly. Within days of your arrest, you will have to attend your first appearance in court. The judge is going to ask whether you plead guilty or not guilty. After this, there will be a time in which your criminal defense attorney in Orangeburg can review the information the State has. This is when they will get started on the nuts and bolts of your case.
We suggest that you call our office as soon as possible. Even if this is your first DUI, you will still be facing very serious penalties. For example, you will be facing thousands of dollars in fines. Your driver’s license will also be suspended. If the facts of your case unique, you may even be facing jail time. This is especially true if you were involved in an accident where somebody got hurt.
Rather than face this all buy yourself, call and schedule a time to come in and meet with one of our Orangeburg DUI lawyers.