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Can You Get A DUI on a Bike?

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What Happens If You Are Arrested for Drinking and Biking?

To avoid being arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, many individuals choose to hop on a bike and pedal their way home.

Nevada drinking laws cover DUI charges for motorists and other commercial drivers, but Nevada is also one of the few states that does not include bicyclists in its DUI laws.

What does this mean if you are found to be intoxicated while riding a bike?

Nevada DUI Laws and Biking

Nevada DUI laws only require that the intoxicated person be operating a motorized vehicle. These laws do not cover bikes, skateboards or even electric bikes or scooters.

However, this does not mean that a person can do anything he or she wants after drinking. Certain implications may still be in place when the person gets on a bike after drinking.

These individuals can be arrested and prosecuted for the Nevada law of reckless endangerment. Penalties for this crime can be fairly severe, depending on whether any substantial property damage or bodily harm was caused from biking while intoxicated.

Reckless Endangerment

Reckless endangerment occurs when someone “neglects any duty imposed by law in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.” The crime of reckless endangerment can be fairly broad in scope, which means that any act that is purposeful or dangerous is included.

Riding a bike after drinking is a particularly significant dangerous act because it can cause serious damage to others around the cyclist as well as property.

Even if no one is actually hurt by the drunk cyclist, this does not mean that he or she cannot be found guilty of reckless endangerment. The possibility of injury and the willful act of getting on the bike after drinking too much makes it a crime.

What Are the Defenses?

Many different defenses are available for reckless endangerment charges. One defense is the cyclist was not acting “in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property.”

For instance, if the cyclist only had one drink and was spotted leaving a bar and then pulled over, if she was otherwise riding the bike safely and following all rules of the road, it may be difficult for them to prove that she was guilty of reckless endangerment.

Many assume that not actually causing damage to another person or property is a defense, but the willful and wanton act is all that needs to be proven, making this defense not always successful.

What Are the Punishments?

The penalties for reckless endangerment depend on the circumstances involved and the severity of the case.

If the crime did not result in substantial bodily injury or property damage, the charge of reckless endangerment will be a gross misdemeanor. The penalties will be up to $2,000 in fines and/or up to 364 days in jail.

However, if the action did result in someone being seriously injured or even caused a death, the charge then goes up to a category C felony. These penalties include one to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A few other penalties can be associated if a cyclist is charged with reckless endangerment. For instance, if the cyclist failed to use hand-signals before making a turn, failed to stay in the bike lane or failed to have proper and working reflectors, lights and brakes, the cyclist may receive related charges.

Most of these violations are charged as misdemeanors in the State of Nevada, with penalties including up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.

Be Safe

Certain safety tips are always recommended when it comes to biking after having a few drinks. For one, it is always recommended that the cyclist wear a helmet. While there is no legal requirement for the person to have a helmet on in the State of Nevada, this important piece of protection can help protect that person from traumatic brain injuries that could easily occur while riding under the influence.

Also, it is important that the cyclist knows the bike lanes and uses them appropriately. These lanes are there to protect the cyclist from drivers on the road, many of whom may not be completely sober while driving, especially in high traffic areas like Las Vegas.

It also helps to practice safe riding at night. Make sure to wear appropriate colors with reflective elements. Make sure the bike is equipped with lights and tapes so that motorists can easily see the cyclist on the road.

Contact Us Today!

If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting Nevada, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us today at (702) 848-5000.

Dan Hill