Can I Get a DUI on an Electric Bike or a Motorized Bicycle in Arizona?
As Arizona sees an increase in the use of electric bikes and motorized bicycles, this question is often asked: can you get a DUI while riding a bicycle?
With the popularity of these bikes surging on college campuses and as an eco-friendly transportation alternative, it’s important to understand the legal ramifications of operating them under the influence.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- Motorized Bicycles and Electric Bikes: A Gray Area in Arizona’s DUI Laws?
- What if the Motor Was Not On and I was Manually Pedaling?
- Are The Penalties for a DUI on a Bike the Same as In a Car?
- Other Potential Criminal Charges and Consequences
- Can a DUI on an Electric Bike or Motorized Bicycle Affect Your Driver’s License?
Motorized Bicycles and Electric Bikes: A Gray Area in Arizona’s DUI Laws?
In short: it varies from state to state, but in AZ, yes, you can be charged with DUI on a bicycle that has a motor under Arizona Revised Statute § 28-1381.
This law governs DUI offenses in the state, defining a motorized vehicle as any “self-propelled ” vehicle operated on public roads.
While electric bikes and motorized bicycles might seem to fall under this definition, there is some confusion as to whether they are considered motor vehicles in the context of DUI laws.
This gray area can lead to misunderstandings, making it crucial for riders to be aware of the potential risks.
Electric bikes and motorized bicycles can be classified into two categories:
- Bicycles with a motor that assists in pedaling
- Bicycles that are fully motor-driven.
Under ARS 28-101, the Arizona DUI law defines “motorized bicycles” as bicycles equipped with a helper motor that has a maximum speed of 20 mph on level ground.
In contrast, electric bikes can reach higher speeds and may not require pedaling.
Depending on the bike’s specific features, it could be considered a motor vehicle, leading to a DUI charge if the rider is impaired.
What if the Motor Was Not On and I was Manually Pedaling?
If you ride a bike, whether electric or gas-powered, by “human power” and not using the motor, you might assume a bicyclist cannot be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, even impaired to the slightest degree.
However, the laws in Arizona are not entirely clear on this issue.
Since there is no specific exemption for electric bikes or motorized bicycles in the DUI statutes, it is possible to face charges even if biking and the motor were not in use.
The outcome of a DUI case involving a motorized bicycle can depend on the specific circumstances and the interpretation of the law by the court.
Are The Penalties for a DUI on a Bike the Same as In a Car?
If you are charged with a DUI while riding a bike, the penalties you face may be similar to those for a DUI in a traditional vehicle.
Arizona has strict DUI laws with severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and license suspension.
Penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offense and any prior DUI convictions.
However, since electric bikes and motorized bicycles occupy a gray area in Arizona’s DUI laws, the penalties may not be as clear-cut as they are for car DUIs.
A skilled Phoenix DUI lawyer from the Shah Law Firm can help you understand the potential consequences and build a strong defense against the charges.
A first-time regular DUI charge for riding a motorized or electric bike can carry severe penalties, even though the specific consequences for electric bike riders are not explicitly defined in Arizona’s DUI laws.
As a result, it is crucial to understand the potential repercussions and take these charges seriously.
If convicted of a first-time regular DUI on an electric bike, some of the penalties you might face include:
- Fines: A minimum fine of $1,250 and additional surcharges and fees for a BAC of .08% to .0149%.
- Jail time: A minimum of 10 consecutive days in jail, though the court may suspend nine of those days if the defendant agrees to participate in an alcohol education or treatment program.
- License suspension: Though not explicitly stated for electric bike DUIs, driver’s license suspension is possible, typically lasting 90 days for first-time offenders.
- Ignition interlock device: Installation of an ignition interlock device on your primary vehicle for at least 12 months, which may be a requirement even if the DUI occurred on an electric bike.
- Alcohol screening, education, and treatment: Mandatory participation in an alcohol screening, education, and treatment program, as ordered by the court.
- Community service: The court may also require you to complete a certain number of community service hours.
Facing a DUI charge on an electric bike is a serious matter, and the potential consequences can have a lasting impact on your life.
Getting the help of an experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer from the Shah Law Firm can be invaluable in protecting your rights and mitigating the penalties associated with a first-time regular DUI on an electric bike.
Other Potential Criminal Charges and Consequences
Riding a bike under the influence can lead to various charges beyond a DUI, depending on the circumstances and the rider’s actions.
These additional charges can compound the consequences of riding while intoxicated and further emphasize the importance of seeking legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Shah Law Firm to navigate the complex legal landscape and protect your rights.
Some other potential charges that could arise from riding a bike under the influence include:
- Public intoxication: In some jurisdictions, you may be charged with public intoxication if you are visibly impaired in a public area, even if you are not operating a motor vehicle.
- Assault causing injury: If your impaired bike riding results in an accident that causes injury to another person, you may face charges of assault causing injury.
- Reckless endangerment: Riding a bike under the influence can also lead to reckless endangerment charges if your actions put others at significant risk of injury or death.
- Criminal property damage: If you cause property damage while riding a bike under the influence, you may face criminal charges related to property damage.
- Civil consequences: In addition to criminal charges, you may also be held financially responsible for any damages or injuries to a person or property you cause while riding under the influence, including medical expenses and property repair costs.
- Traffic violations: Riding a bike under the influence can result in traffic violations, such as running red lights, failing to yield, or not using proper safety equipment.
Facing any combination of these charges can be overwhelming and have serious consequences on your personal and professional life.
Can a DUI on an Electric Bike or Motorized Bicycle Affect Your Driver’s License?
A DUI conviction in Arizona can result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, depending on the severity of the offense and your prior driving history.
The impact of a DUI on an electric bike or motorized bicycle on your driver’s license is less certain, as the law does not explicitly address this situation.
However, since the definition of a motor vehicle in Arizona’s DUI laws is broad and could potentially include electric bikes and motorized bicycles, it is possible that a conviction on a bike while under the influence could affect your driver’s license.
How a Bicycle DUI Lawyer from the Shah Law Firm Can Help
If you are facing DUI charges while riding an electric bike or motorized bicycle, a knowledgeable Phoenix DUI lawyer from the Shah Law Firm can provide invaluable assistance.
Our attorneys understand the complexities of Arizona’s DUI laws and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf.
We will investigate the circumstances of your case, including whether the bike in question should be considered a motor vehicle under Arizona law and whether any other factors could lead to the dismissal of drunk driving charges or a reduction in penalties.
With our expertise and dedication, you can trust the Shah Law Firm to fight for your rights and protect your future.
Electric Bikes and Motorized Bicycles Present a Unique Challenge in the Context of Arizona’s DUI Laws.
With the increasing popularity of these alternative modes of transportation, it’s essential for riders to understand what laws apply and the legal consequences and seek the help of an experienced DUI lawyer if they find themselves facing charges.
The Shah Law Firm is ready to provide the expertise and support that you need to navigate these complex legal issues and defend your rights.
Don’t let a DUI charge define your future—contact the Shah Law Firm today to start building your defense (602) 560-7408.