In Georgia, riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol is a crime. Bicycles are considered moving vehicles for Georgia’s DUI laws. Law enforcement officers in Atlanta have the authority to arrest Atlanta bicyclists for riding while under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Bicycle DUI arrests often occur on college campuses when students attempt to ride their bicycle home from parties while intoxicated. As bicycling grows in popularity in Atlanta, law enforcement officers may begin making more bicycle-related DUI arrests.
If you’re facing an Atlanta bicycle DUI charge, Carter Pilgrim, Attorneys at Law can help. Our law firm focuses entirely on representing clients who face DUI charges. We pride ourselves on vigorously fighting for our clients’ rights. Our attorneys formerly prosecuted DUI charges and have an inside understanding of DUI trials. The consequences of a bicycle DUI conviction can be severe. Our law firm is open 24 hours a day. If you’re facing a bicycle DUI charge, contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Georgia’s DUI Law Applies to All Moving Vehicles Including Bicycles
Georgia’s DUI law extends to bicycling while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Georgia law prohibits drivers from driving or being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle when one or more of the following circumstances occur:
- The person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any tox vapor, resulting in unsafe driving
- The driver is under the influence of two or more specified substances, resulting in unsafe driving
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or higher within three hours of driving
- The driver’s blood, urine, or both contain any amount of a controlled substance or marijuana
It is worth noting that Georgia courts have rules that a bicycle is considered a moving vehicle because the state’s DUI law does not refer to motor vehicles; the statute refers to moving vehicles. Thus, the motorization of the vehicle is not a requirement for making a DUI arrest. A corresponding Georgia statute defines moving vehicles as any device which transports a person or property upon a highway.
Since bicycles transport people on highways, they meet the statutory definition of moving vehicles. The Court extended the scope of Georgia’s DUI statute beyond highways, determining that the law applies throughout the entire state of Georgia. Thus, bicyclists face the same DUI charges as motor vehicle drivers who drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Penalties for Riding a Bicycle While Under the Influence of Alcohol
While Georgia’s DUI laws apply to bicycles and motor vehicles, the penalties of a bicycle-related DUI are less severe. The penalties that motor vehicle operators face when convicted of a Georgia DUI do not apply to bicyclists convicted of a DUI. Georgia courts treat a bicycle DUI conviction as an ordinary misdemeanor offense. Those convicted of a DUI in a motor vehicle face penalties related to the suspension or revocation of their driving license. Courts will not impose driver’s license penalties on defendants convicted of a bicycle-related DUI.
Georgia misdemeanor offenses are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and jail sentences lasting 12 months or less. Judges in Georgia rarely impose maximum penalties on defendants convicted of misdemeanors. A conviction of bicycling while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could easily result in probation. Individuals on probation must not violate any other laws. They must maintain contact with their probation officer and inform them of any phone or address changes.
In drug-related convictions, defendants must obtain a chemical assessment and follow the assessor’s recommendations during probation. Sometimes assessors recommend treatment for chemical dependency. The assessor will recommend an outpatient treatment program, or, in severe cases, time in an inpatient facility. Finally, the court may order a bicycle DUI defendant to participate in a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program. Georgia’s Department of Driver Services manages these 20-hour classes. Attendees must take the classes in the evening or attend a weekend program that lasts two days. Attendees must pay for the class and complete all assignments.
A misdemeanor conviction is not a simple traffic offense; it’s a criminal conviction. A bicycling DUI conviction will remain on an individual’s criminal record and have a negative effect. Those convicted of bicycling while under the influence must answer in the affirmative when asked if they have a criminal record on job applications. Georgia courts can expunge a DUI conviction, but they rarely do so.
Defenses to a Bicycle DUI
At Carter Pilgrim, Attorneys at Law, we focus exclusively on representing clients charged with DUI offenses. Our clients benefit from our vast DUI defense experience. We know all of the most persuasive and effective defenses to DUI charges, such as:
- The law enforcement officer’s stop of the bicyclist was unconstitutional
- The instruments used to measure alcohol concentration were not well maintained
- The person who interpreted the test results did so incorrectly or based on false information
- The methods used to conduct the blood draw were not appropriate
Prosecutors must prove all of the elements of a DUI crime beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a criminal conviction. Proving a DUI in court can be challenging, particularly when law enforcement officers incorrectly administer tests for alcohol concentration in some cases. Our experienced DUI attorneys understand how to poke holes in the prosecution’s DUI cases in an attempt to secure a dismissal or not-guilty verdict.
The Atlanta Bicycle DUI Attorneys Can Help
If you’re facing a bicycle DUI charge in Atlanta, securing legal counsel as soon as possible is crucial. The experienced DUI attorneys Carter Pilgrim, Attorneys at Law fight for the rights of our clients throughout the legal process. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.