When referring to driving under the influence (DUI) charges, most people consider the charge arising in the context of driving a motor vehicle. With the rise in electric scooters and bicycles in metro areas, many clients ask us, Can I get a DUI while riding my bicycle or e-scooter? Though you may not realize it, the answer is yes.
If you received a DUI charge while riding a bicycle or e-scooter, the charges against you are just as serious as DUI charges against someone operating a motor vehicle. Time is of the essence in every criminal case, especially those with the possibility of spending time behind bars. Contact the law offices of Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., today to speak to a lawyer about your case.
Colorado’s DUI Laws Generally
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-4-1301 prohibits motorists from operating a motor vehicle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thus, any device considered a “vehicle” under Colorado law falls under this DUI/DWAI statute.
Section 42-1-102 provides definitions for the words contained in the DUI statute. According to this section, a “bicycle” means a vehicle propelled by human power applied to pedals, which has either two tandem wheels or two parallel wheels on the back and one on the front.
When defining “motor vehicle,” this section expressly states that for purposes of 42-4-1301, the term motor vehicle includes low-power scooters.
Additionally, the section defines “vehicle” as any device that is capable of moving itself or being moved from place to place on wheels or endless tracks. The section expressly states that the following devices are “vehicles” under this section:
- Electric bicycles,
- Electric scooters, and
- Electric personal assistive mobility devices (EPAMDs)
Thus, Colorado’s DUI statute encompasses the operation of any of these devices. Driving any device considered a “vehicle” under Colorado law while under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes a violation.
How Can I Get a DUI While Riding My Bicycle or E-Scooter?
DUI arrests operate the same way no matter what vehicle you used to drive. DUI charges typically arise when:
- An officer pulls you over for a traffic violation and determines that you’re intoxicated;
- You’re involved in an accident while riding your bicycle or e-scooter and the investigating officer determines that you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
- An officer validly stops you at a DUI checkpoint and determines you’re intoxicated.
When you’re operating a bicycle or e-scooter, you’re subject to the same traffic laws as individuals operating motor vehicles. Thus, getting a DUI on your e-scooter or bicycle typically occurs the same way it would if you were driving a regular motor vehicle.
Penalties for DUIs on Bicycles or E-Scooters
Colorado imposes serious penalties for DUI convictions in an attempt to deter drivers from operating vehicles under the influence. DUI penalties typically increase for subsequent DUI convictions.
For a first-offense DUI, Colorado law authorizes the following penalties:
- Between five days and one year in jail;
- A fine of up to $1,000;
- Up to 96 hours of public service;
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment program; and
- Driver’s license suspension for up to nine months.
For a second-offense DUI, Colorado law authorizes the following penalties:
- Between 10 days and one year in jail;
- A fine of up to $1,500;
- Up to 120 hours of public service;
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment program;
- At least two years of probation; and
- Driver’s license suspension for up to one year.
The court can suspend the fine and the minimum jail sentence if you undergo the evaluation and successfully complete the recommended program.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below .08%, you’ll likely face charges for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) rather than DUI. For a first-offense DWAI, Colorado law authorizes the following penalties:
- Between two days and 180 days in jail;
- A fine of up to $500;
- Up to 48 hours of public service; and
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment program.
In addition to these penalties, you could face consequences unrelated to the criminal justice system. For example, many motorists with a DUI conviction incur higher insurance premiums than drivers without a DUI conviction. Additionally, you could lose your job upon receiving a DUI conviction, depending on your industry of employment.
What Defenses Are Available if I Get a DUI While Riding My E-Scooter or Bicycle?
There are many valid legal defenses that can help convince the prosecutor on your case to negotiate a plea agreement to lesser charges or have your DUI charge dismissed entirely. Depending on the facts of your case, potential DUI defenses include:
- Law enforcement had no legal reason to pull you over;
- The breathalyzer was administered improperly; or
- The breathalyzer displayed inaccurate results due to a lack of proper maintenance.
The legal defenses applicable to your case depend on the specific circumstances leading to your charges. Contact one of our bicycle or e-scooter DUI charges attorneys to determine whether a legal defense applies to your case.
Dealing with DUI Charges? Contact a Colorado DUI Charges Lawyer Today
Prosecutors frequently seek to punish DUI offenders to the fullest extent of the law, which means spending time in jail. To avoid this result, you need an experienced attorney who has represented other individuals charged with DUI in Colorado. With over 25 years of experience representing clients accused of DUI in Colorado, our founding attorney Mark Rubenstein possesses the experience you need. He will advocate on your behalf to obtain the best result possible. Mr. Rubenstein prides himself on his in-depth knowledge of Colorado’s criminal laws, his compassion for clients, and his understanding of how legal circumstances can drastically impact an individual’s life. If you’re looking for an approachable lawyer who is committed to listening to your concerns and desires for your case, you’ve come to the right place. Contact our office today to start your free consultation.