If you’re out dinking with friends, you already know that you won’t be able to drive home safely. You want to do what’s best for you and those around you, so you might decide instead to walk or bike home.
What about that bike, though? Bicycles are largely considered to be vehicles. Even though they’re often powered manually, cyclists still have to obey the rules of the road. So, can you get a DUI if you decide to ride your bike home and are drunk?
Virginia doesn’t give DUIs for biking drunk
The good news for people in Virginia is that people who are intoxicated on bicycles won’t get DUIs for biking under the influence. That doesn’t mean you can’t be ticketed for reckless behaviors or for violating traffic laws, but you won’t face a DUI.
Public intoxication is a crime that you might still have to contend with.
What’s public intoxication?
Public intoxication is an offense based on the idea that someone has violated the law if they are in public while intoxicated at the same time as causing a disturbance. Like with a DUI, the officer would have to show that your blood alcohol concentration was at least .08% for a public intoxication charge to stick. Additionally, it would have to be shown that you were acting in a way that endangered others or disturbed the public in other ways. Of course, you have to be in a public place, too, so if you’re in your own backyard or visiting a friend, public intoxication may not apply.
What should you do if you get stopped while biking and are intoxicated?
The best thing you can do for yourself is know your rights. You will want to do your best to show that you’re not too intoxicated to bike home safely and that you’re not a threat to others. Many times, officers will simply offer you a ride home, but if there is a threat of a citation or arrest, it’s a good idea to know to stay quiet and to look into your legal rights to defend yourself.