You lose control of your bodily and mental faculties after using alcohol or drugs. Because of this, DUI is a serious offense under California law. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be brought against you if caught biking or operating a car while intoxicated. The primary penalty for riding a bike while intoxicated is a court fine. Your social and professional lives will be impacted by a criminal conviction on your record, among other things. Therefore, seeing a knowledgeable DUI attorney is wise if you face charges for biking under the influence in Bakersfield. Your attorney will investigate the specifics to determine your case's severity. At the Koenig Law Office, we can also develop the most substantial defense strategies that could persuade the judge to drop or downgrade your charges. For our clients, we simplify the legal procedure and provide ongoing support as they navigate the complex legal system.
Legal Definition of Biking Under The Influence
DUI is typically connected to motor vehicles like cars and trucks. But if you ride your bike while intoxicated, you could also face criminal charges. Biking under the influence is not handled like other DUI charges, even though the allegation ought to be significant given the severe consequences in the event of an accident. Biking under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a minor offense punishable by a court fine.
However, a conviction for drunk or drugged biking carries significant repercussions. A conviction can affect your freedom, capacity to obtain acceptable employment, and intimate relationships, even if the charge does not appear serious, like driving while intoxicated. Therefore, you should retain a knowledgeable DUI attorney immediately after your arrest. A competent attorney can aggressively fight your charges in court, helping you avoid a criminal record and its drawbacks.
Vehicle Code 21200.5 prohibits biking while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Anyone caught cycling while intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics violates this law. It means that while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you are not permitted to ride a bicycle on a public trail, road, or highway. Examples of situations that could result in charges under this statute are as follows:
- Riding a bicycle home after a night of drinking and drug use with pals.
- Riding through the streets of your neighborhood after smoking marijuana.
- Swerving your motorcycle across town while disregarding other drivers and disobeying traffic signs while high on drugs.
However, a conviction for drunk biking does not always follow an arrest. You must go through a fair trial in which the prosecutor must establish all the necessary elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, a jury will allow you to testify in defense of your charges. To reach its decision, the jury will consider each piece of testimony and evidence offered in court. For the jury to declare you guilty of this crime, the prosecution must establish the following elements:
- You had been cycling.
- You performed this on a public street, walkway, or highway.
- You were biking while under the effects of drugs, alcohol, or both.
To further comprehend the offense, let us examine some of these components in more detail:
You Were Riding a Bicycle
You would only fall within the scope of VC 21200.5 if you were riding a bicycle. In this context, a bicycle is a wheeled object with a chain, belt, or other propulsion mechanism that allows human propulsion. A motorized bike is not a bicycle under the legal definition. Motorized bicycles are classified as motor vehicles. So, if you ride a motorcycle while intoxicated, you could face charges under this law.
Public Road, Path, or Highway
You will only be subject to the legislation prohibiting intoxicated bicycling if you use a public road, path, street, or highway. Only if you ride a bike while drunk and on a public road are you a threat to the general public. However, a freeway is not considered a public road, trail, or highway under this statute because bicycling is outrightly forbidden on freeways.
While Under the Influence
When you ride a bike while impaired by drugs or alcohol, your physical and mental capabilities are so incapacitated that you cannot ride as carefully and safely as you would when sober. The jury will examine the circumstances of your case to decide whether you were riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
Example: Justin's day at work has not gone well. He stops by the neighborhood bar near his place of employment on the way home for a drink. Later, he takes his bicycle home. He is cautious about following all traffic regulations, though he rides onto the sidewalk a few times as he performs a few motorcycle acrobatics.
Because Justin had a couple of drinks before hitting the road, he can be guilty of riding while intoxicated. Additionally, the fact that he rode off the street could have been a sign of some impairment. But he followed all road laws carefully and only had a few beers. If the jury considers all the evidence in his case, they could conclude that he was driving as cautiously and safely as someone sober would. It indicates that Justin was not riding his bike while inebriated, even though he had a few drinks.
Penalties for a Conviction Under VC 21200.5
The most common charge for biking while under the influence is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $250. You will likely not spend any time in jail for the crime. However, your arrest and conviction will result in a serious criminal record that can negatively influence your life in many ways.
A criminal conviction has repercussions that cannot simply be disregarded. For example, your social life will be impacted if you have a criminal record. Following your arrest for drunk or drugged biking, you will probably lose contact with some friends and family members. You could also lose your job. Because of this, you ought to carefully select a DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest. You and your attorney will battle to prevent a conviction and its repercussions.
A criminal history could potentially hinder your future employment opportunities. Most firms want to work with candidates of excellent character. A criminal past tarnishes your reputation and can cause most companies to pass you over, even if you have the necessary credentials. Before renting to you, landlords could take your criminal history into account. After your conviction, locating an excellent area to call home could be challenging.
However, expungement aids in removing all the sanctions and adverse effects of a criminal conviction. You can legally expunge and seal a criminal conviction from your record using this procedure. You can be eligible for expungement once you have paid your court fines. However, you will need legal assistance to navigate the legal system successfully. The same court where you were convicted will allow you to file an expungement petition once you have paid the requisite fine and served any additional penalties imposed by the judge during sentencing.
The judge will review the specifics of your case after receiving your petition to determine your eligibility for expungement. They will convene an expungement hearing if you are qualified to decide whether to grant your petition. Using evidence and arguments, you will make your case during this hearing. If the prosecution team opposes your petition for expungement, they will also be permitted to present evidence. The judge makes the final decision. If they agree to your request, no one will know your conviction for drunk or drugged biking unless you tell them. Therefore, the sentence will not have any negative impact on your life.
Defending Yourself Against VC 21200.5 Charges
It helps to know that you can defend yourself if you face charges for riding while intoxicated. You are not necessarily guilty just because you were arrested. You are entitled to a fair trial if you submit evidence and refute the prosecution's case. The prosecution and defense teams each offer testimony, evidence, and arguments for the jury to consider before reaching a verdict. Your knowledgeable DUI attorney will put up a solid battle to reach a just verdict. Here are some defense tactics your lawyer could implement in your case:
You Were Not Biking Under the Influence
You can only face charges under this statute if you were biking while intoxicated. In this case, the crime is riding a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The court will not find you guilty if you were not drunk or drugged.
Remember that for the jury to find a defendant guilty, the prosecution must prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must show that you were riding your bike while inebriated. To confirm that you were operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they must offer proof. The judge will drop your charges if there is no proof to back up their claims.
Riding a bicycle in a way that suggests intoxication is insufficient to warrant penalties under this legislation. For example, breaking a traffic law is not necessarily a sign that you are drunk or drugged. The jury will find you not guilty if your attorney persuades them that you were sober during the alleged offense.
You Were Not on a Public Highway
Only riders who use the public highway are subject to charges under this law. Remember that a public highway is a street, road, or path used by members of the public. It is a street or road shared by vehicles, cyclists, other riders, and pedestrians. You could refute your accusations by claiming that the street or road you traveled was private and not open to the public. According to this law, riding a bike while intoxicated on a private road is not illegal. Another possibility is that you were in a driveway.
There Was No Probable Cause for Your Arrest
To make an arrest, the police need to have probable cause. If you believe the arresting officer lacked probable cause, you can challenge the arrest in court. For example, the police would not have a valid reason to stop and question you for biking under the influence if you are riding carefully and do not break any traffic laws. Any evidence the police could have acquired against you will not be admissible in court without probable cause. The prosecution could need more proof to support your allegations in court.
What Can a DUI Attorney Do for You?
Any legal proceeding should be conducted with legal representation. It is because only some people are well-versed in legal issues. The criminal justice system is very intricate. You will effectively navigate through it with the aid of an experienced attorney. Additionally, they will stand by you until you receive a just resolution to your case. You should retain legal counsel as soon as possible following your arrest for drunk or drugged biking for the following reasons:
An Attorney Will Advice You When To Speak and When To Keep Quiet
Arrests can be highly frightening. You can say regrettable things to the police due to the anxiety and tension that come with it. Your situation can be jeopardized if you feel the need to justify yourself or admit to making a mistake. Having a lawyer by your side is crucial to avoid putting yourself in more legal trouble. Your lawyer will advise you on when to talk and be silent. They will speak for you and only provide the police with information to improve your situation, not worsen it.
Attorneys Are Familiar With Court Processes
When you face criminal charges, it helps to understand the court procedures. The legal system is simple to use with that understanding. But most people need to be made aware of how the court operates. The judicial procedures are only familiar to those who frequently enter and exit courts. This is why you want the assistance of a skilled DUI lawyer. Regardless of your legal status, they will support you every step of the way and ensure that the procedures go smoothly, making you feel less stressed and anxious.
An Attorney Will Keep Track of Your Legal Filings and Deadlines
Once you start the legal process, an experienced attorney will know the proper paperwork to file in court. They will ensure that your paperwork is filed on time because they know the deadlines that apply to all court processes. Additionally, they will keep track of every document they submit on your behalf to make sure it is handled promptly. If it becomes necessary to file a motion in court, your attorney will know the best time and place to file the motion. They will carry out the motion and offer all necessary supporting documentation to ensure the court rules in your favor.
An Attorney Will Negotiate With the Tough Prosecutor
Your lawyer will advocate for you throughout the entire legal procedure, including negotiating a favorable resolution with the prosecution. Prosecutors are reputed to be quite aggressive. In every legal case they present, they want to prevail. An aggressive DUI lawyer will know the finest approaches to negotiating a good bargain with the prosecutor.
An Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
You still have rights, even if you face serious criminal charges. Knowing your rights is essential since it will enable you to spot when the police officers or anyone else will violate them. For example, upon your arrest, the police must read your Miranda rights. Before beginning the legal proceedings, they must ensure you know your rights. If someone breaches your rights, your attorney will stand up for you and fight to defend them. Your lawyer can utilize any rights violations by the police as evidence in court to support your case.
An Attorney Will Help With Expungement.
Although you can go through the expungement procedure yourself, working with an experienced lawyer will probably result in a fair outcome. The expungement process is complicated if you do not know how to navigate the legal system. You must file petitions by a deadline and prepare and file documentation with the court before the hearing. You must also inform the prosecutor as well as the other parties involved. You can feel overwhelmed by everything. By hiring a lawyer to assist you with the expungement procedure, you can ensure a smooth process and avoid making regrettable errors. Additionally, your attorney will battle for the best result.
Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
A conviction for biking while under the influence can significantly negatively impact many facets of your life. Even though it is a misdemeanor, a conviction will result in a serious criminal record that will affect your life even after you pay the appropriate court fees. To avoid a guilty verdict, you must learn how to fight and defend yourself. If you seek the assistance of a capable criminal defense lawyer, your case will probably end well for you.
At Koenig Law Office, our primary area of focus is DUI cases. We could be the team to contact if you face charges for drunk or drugged biking in Bakersfield. We use the most effective legal defense tactics to win cases for our clients. To find out more about us, contact us at 661-793-7222.