Colorado is consistently ranked as one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the country. Thousands of residents regularly use bikes both for recreation and as transportation to commute from place to place. Additionally, many of Colorado’s universities and colleges have significant parking issues, making bicycles particularly attractive to the student population. With so many bikes and bicyclists in Colorado, it is not surprising that many residents may consider them as an alternative to driving after having consumed alcohol. After all, it is common knowledge that drunk driving is against the law, and it may seem to many like a much safer alternative, both for riders and other people on the roads.
It may come as a surprise, then, for bicyclists to learn that bicyclists are subject to the same DUI law as drivers of motor vehicles. While as a practical matter bicyclists are not likely to be targeted as much as drivers by law enforcement, the potential penalties are just as severe, including probation, fines, mandatory alcohol or drug education classes, and even jail time. In fact, in 2012 the Denver Police Department changed its policy to start enforcing Colorado’s DUI law against bicyclists as reported here. The Colorado statutes that regulate both DUI and DWAI (the lesser offense of “driving while ability impaired”) refer both to “vehicles,” and “motor vehicles,” which includes bikes, as well as various unspecified vehicles. While not made clear in the statute, “vehicle” could likely be taken to include:
- Golf carts;
- All-terrain-vehicles; and
While these types of cases are not very common, it is important for anyone accused of a DUI not involving a car, truck, or motorcycle to discuss their case with an experienced lawyer. There are several potential defenses that an experienced lawyer could raise in a non-motor vehicle DUI case. Some of the most common include the following:
- Arguing that the mode of transportation you were using did not fit within the statutory definition of a “vehicle”;
- Questioning the accuracy of any chemical testing that was conducted;
- Challenging the justification for the initial stop;
- Calling into question the reliability of the arresting officer’s observations; and
- Introducing evidence indicating that any signs of intoxication that were observed were in fact caused by an alternative condition.
Of course, the particular defenses used in your case will depend on the specific circumstances of your arrest. Discussing your case with a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible is the best way to ensure that your case is resolved as favorably to you as possible.
Contact a Denver DUI Defense Lawyer Today to Schedule a Consultation
If you are facing a Colorado DUI case, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel immediately. Even in cases that do not go to trial, the fact that you are represented by a lawyer can often result in a much better plea arrangement being offered than if you chose to represent yourself. Additionally, an attorney will be able to advise you as to steps you can take to avoid any further collateral consequences that you may not have considered. To schedule a consultation with one of our Denver DUI defense lawyers, call the Tiftickjian Law Firm today.