Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense. Police are constantly on the lookout for any intoxicated drivers, especially during holidays. During the most recent Fourth of July holiday, Arizona police arrested 289 individuals for operating vehicles while inebriated.
After a night of drinking, there are many ways to get around a city without operating the car on your own. Public transportation and services such as Uber are readily accessible. However, some people think they can circumvent the law by riding a bicycle after drinking. While the law varies from state to state, there are no definitive laws on the books in Arizona about police arresting bicyclists under the influence.
What does Arizona law say?
The law in Arizona states that individuals on bicycles are subject to all the same duties as someone behind the wheel of a car. That means they have to obey the same road signs and remain on the proper side of the road. However, when it comes to DUI charges, the law becomes murkier. In Arizona, the law defines a vehicle as anything that transports people, excluding anything that moves due to human power.
Therefore, a bicycle you must pedal would not be subject to DUI laws. However, if you ride a motorcycle that moves using an engine, then the police can still arrest you for driving under the influence. An overly aggressive officer could still arrest a bicyclist for DUI, and it may require the bicyclist to hire a lawyer immediately to fight the charges.
Are there other consequences to riding a bike intoxicated?
Although a bicyclist may not have to contend with a DUI charge, the police can still arrest him or her on other criminal charges. For example, police officers may see a bicyclist clearly inebriated and arrest the individual for public intoxication, disturbing the peace or reckless behavior. Although these are lesser charges, they still require a strong defense.