Can I Get Arrested in CA for Riding My Bike Drunk?

person riding bicycle

A DUI conviction in California can result in harsh criminal penalties. A first offense alone is punishable by a jail term of up to six months or probation between three and five years, a maximum fine of $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for six months.

Rather than risk driving a motor vehicle under the influence, many people believe they can escape criminal charges by riding their bicycles instead. However, riding on a bike on any public road or street while impaired is a criminal offense in California.

There is no legal limit you must meet to be charged with cycling under the influence. Rather, law enforcement officials will determine intoxication based on indirect evidence, such as the smell of alcohol, reddened eyes or face, or erratic biking.

Fortunately, cycling under the influence does not carry the same penalties as a DUI involving a vehicle. Although riding a bike while impaired is a misdemeanor, the offense only carries a fine of up to $250 – no jail time or driver’s license suspension.

Yet, if a person under 21 years of age is convicted of cycling under the influence, the penalties will include driver’s license suspension for one year. If an underage cyclist is found in possession of alcohol, he/she will face additional penalties for that separate offense.

At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., we advise our clients to think twice before riding their bicycles after drinking. Instead, you can ask a friend or loved one to pick you up or request a ride home from a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Just because cycling under the influence is a less serious offense, it is still a misdemeanor that will be part of your criminal record.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Santa Rosa, call the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. at (707) 418-5352 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. Successfully represented thousands of clients throughout Northern California!