DUI on a Bicycle in Florida

A criminal charge for driving while under the influence (DUI) usually involves a motor vehicle. Did you know that Florida’s DUI laws also apply to riding a bicycle while impaired by alcohol or drugs?

Florida’s DUI laws apply to vehicles defined in Florida Statute Section 316.003(4) as “every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.” Since a bicycle fits this definition, it is subject to the same DUI laws as any other vehicle. For this reason, the criminal penalties for riding a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are the same as any other DUI. For example, enhanced penalties apply if the cyclist has prior DUI/BUI convictions, a BAC of .15 or higher, a child passenger on the bicycle, or was involved in a crash causing property damage or injury to another.

Although the criminal penalties are the same for a DUI in a motor vehicle or while riding a bicycle, the same is not true of the administrative suspension rules. A DUI in a motor vehicle might trigger an on-the-spot administrative suspension if:

  • the BAC is .08 or above; or
  • the driver refuses to submit to a lawful request for breath, blood, or urine test.

However, the DHSMV has no authority to enter an administrative suspension for a DUI involving the operation of a non-motorized vehicle like a bicycle. In other words, the administrative suspension applies to DUI on a motor vehicle but not to DUI involving a non-motorized vehicle like a bicycle.

If you are convicted of DUI for riding a bicycle while impaired, the conviction appears on your criminal record and might be used to enhance the penalties if you later get a DUI on a motor vehicle as permitted by statute.

Attorney for DUI on a Bicycle in Tampa, FL

After an arrest for DUI while riding a bicycle in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL, seek the services of an experienced attorney for these unique types of cases. We can help you fight the case in court to avoid the severe penalties that generally accompany a DUI conviction.

At Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys can help the bicyclist accused of DUI gather evidence, file viable motions to dismiss the charge and assert important defenses at trial. Contact us to discuss your DUI-bicyclist case with an experienced DUI defense attorney. We also represent clients on related charges for disorderly intoxication.

Call 813-250-0500.


Refusal Evidence Excluded in DUI Bicycle Case

In State v. Howard, 510 So.2d 612 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1987), the 3rd District Court of Appeal held that Florida’s driving under the influence statute, Section 316.193, applies to bicyclists. The Howard court reasoned that if the Florida legislature had intended to exclude bicyclists from the coverage of Section 316.193, it could have made Section 316.193 applicable only to a “motor vehicle” since that statutory definition excludes bicycles. The court reasoned:

…Since the words used in the statute are clear, we must presume that the legislature meant what it said and purposely chose to make Section 316.193 apply to all vehicles rather than just “motor vehicles”. C.f. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. v Kuhn, 374 So.2d 1079, 1080-81 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1979) (“where words used and grammatical construction employed in a statute are clear and they convey definite meaning, the legislature is presumed to have meant what it said and therefore, it is unnecessary to resort to the rules of statutory construction”), appeal dismissed, 383 So.2d 1197 (Fla. 1980).

Id. at 613.

In State v. Perez, 14 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 679 (Fla. Collier Cty. Ct. April 18, 2007), the defendant was arrested for DUI while driving a bicycle instead of a motor vehicle. The defense filed a “Motion In Limine to Exclude From Evidence at Trial the Defendant’s Alleged Refusal to Submit” to driving under the influence (“DUI”) breath test. The trial court reviewed a memorandum of law from the defense and state. Ultimately, the trial court sided with the defense by finding that the Florida Implied Consent Statute in Section 316.1932(1), Fla. Stat., does not apply to DUI cases involving bicycles.

The court acknowledged that Section 316.193(1), Fla. Stat., prohibits driving any “vehicle” while impaired by drugs or alcohol, but Section 316.1932(1)(a)1.a., Fla. Stat., establishes implied consent for testing for alcohol and other controlled substances for those who operate a “motor vehicle.”

Section 316.1932(1)(a)1.a. provides, in pertinent part, that any person who accepts the privilege to operate a motor vehicle within Florida is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given their consent to submit to an approved chemical test of their breath to determine its alcoholic content if they are lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

Florida’s implied consent statute also provides the refusal to submit to a chemical or physical breath test upon the request of a law enforcement officer, as provided in this section, is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding. The court also determined that even if the DUI statutes are ambiguous, a reasonable construction of the statutes is that the legislative intent was to exclude bicycles from the Implied Consent Law.

Additionally, the court found Florida’s DUI statutes can be harmonized without changing the plain statutory language in the Implied Consent Law, which only applies that section of the statutes to motor vehicles instead of all vehicles.

Finally, the court concluded that Florida’s Implied Consent Law does not apply to bicyclists since they had no duty under the implied consent law to submit to a breath test. Without any duty to submit, it would be unfairly prejudicial under Section 90.403, Fla. Stat. to admit evidence of the bicyclist’s refusal as consciousness of guilt in a DUI prosecution.

For the same reason, no administrative suspension for refusing to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test would apply to a DUI on a bicycle.


This article was last updated on Monday, July 1, 2024.

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