DUI on a Bicycle

Question

Tom asked: What are some of the penalties that a cyclist who is convicted of BUI could face and would any of them involve the cyclist driver’s license?

Answer

For usual traffic citations, the point system does not apply since a driver’s license is not required for a bicycle.

s. 322.27 – Authority of Department to Suspend or Revoke License

(1) Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in chapter 120, the department is hereby authorized to suspend the license ….

(3) There is established a point system for evaluation of convictions of violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances ….

7. … However, no points shall be imposed for violation of … s. 316.2065.

(i) This subsection shall not apply to persons operating a non-motorized vehicle for which a driver’s license is not required.

This DUI statute applies to the operation of a vehicle, not just a motor vehicle, so they would apply to a bicycle. These are the penalties for a first offense. Needless to say, they get more severe with subsequent violations.

s. 316.193Driving Under the Influence; Penalties

(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;

(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:

1. By a fine of:

a. Not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction.

b. Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; and

2. By imprisonment for:

a. Not more than 6 months for a first conviction.

b. Not more than 9 months for a second conviction.

This statute indicates a DUI in a motor vehicle can result in a suspension, but does not mention a human powered vehicle.

s. 322.28Period of Suspension or Revocation

(1) Unless otherwise provided by this section, the department shall not suspend a license for a period of more than 1 year and, upon revoking a license, in any case except in a prosecution for the offense of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages ….

The statute goes on to state that someone convicted of a violation of s. 316.193, above, shall have the driver’s license suspended. As stated above, a bicyclist can be cited for a violation of s. 316.193, so apparently a driver’s license can be suspended for not more than one year for a bicycle DUI, even though a driver’s license is not required for a bicycle.

(2) In a prosecution for a violation of s. 316.193 …. the following provisions apply:

(a) Upon conviction of the driver, the court, along with imposing sentence, shall revoke the driver license or driving privilege of the person so convicted,

Other instances in which a DUI on a bicycle would impact the driver’s license are as follows:

In the case of a habitual drunkard,

s. 322.05Persons not to be Licensed

The department may not issue a license:

(7) To any person who is an habitual drunkard, or is an habitual user of narcotic drugs, or is an habitual user of any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle.

or, a person under age 18

s. 322.056Mandatory revocation or suspension of, or delay of eligibility for, driver license for persons under age 18 found guilty of certain alcohol, drug, or tobacco offenses; prohibition

(1) …. if a person under 18 years of age is found guilty of or delinquent for a violation of s. 562.11(2) [Selling or giving alcohol to under 21], s. 562.111 [Possession], or chapter 893 [Controlled substances], and:

(a) The person is eligible by reason of age for a driver license or driving privilege, the court shall direct the department to revoke or to withhold issuance of his or her driver license or driving privilege

or, failure to follow court orders.

s. 322.245Suspension of license upon failure of person charged with specified offense under chapter 316, chapter 320, or this chapter to comply with directives ordered by traffic court or upon failure to pay child support in non-IV-D cases as provided in chapter 61 or failure to pay any financial obligation in any other criminal case.

(1) If a person charged with a violation of any of the criminal offenses enumerated in s. 318.17 or with the commission of any offense constituting a misdemeanor under chapter 320 or this chapter fails to comply with all of the directives of the court within the time allotted by the court, the clerk of the traffic court shall mail to the person, at the address specified on the uniform traffic citation, a notice of such failure, notifying him or her that, if he or she does not comply with the directives of the court within 30 days after the date of the notice and pay a delinquency fee of up to $25 to the clerk, his or her driver license will be suspended.

The statutes related to DUI are very lengthy and complex. I likely missed some pertinent points or got these wrong, so I recommend seeking the advice of an attorney if more information is needed. Any attorneys out there to comment?

Posted in Ask Geo, Driver License, Misc
One comment on “DUI on a Bicycle
  1. Tom says:

    Thanks Geo, the whole penalty phase seems too vague, no points are allowed but a suspension is? That makes no sense.

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