Can I Get a DUI on My Bicycle?
Oct. 13, 2016
More and more people are riding their bikes to work; either as a way of ‘going green,' keeping fit, or because their license is suspended. No matter the reason, biking is becoming a favored mode of transport in Florida.
One question that people frequently ask is, “Can I be charged with a DUI for drunk-biking?” The short answer is ‘yes.'
According to the Third District Court of Appeals in State v. Howard, Florida, Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes provides in pertinent part:
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if such 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 § 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that his normal faculties are impaired; or
(b) The person has a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent or higher. (Emphasis added)
This section contemplates applicability to all “vehicles” since it is not limited to “motor vehicles,” as are many of the other statutes dealing with driving while under the influence. See § 316.1932-.1934, 322.261, .28, Fla. Stat. (1985). Compare § 316.003(76), Fla. Stat. (1985) (defining a “vehicle”) with § 316.003(21), Fla. Stat. (1985) (defining a “motor vehicle”).
A “vehicle” is defined in section 316.003(76), Florida Statutes (1985), as:
[e]very device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
Under the Florida Statutes, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle. § 316.003(2). 1 Therefore, section 316.193, which applies to a person operating or controlling any vehicle, is applicable to a person operating a bicycle while under the influence.
Had the legislature intended to exclude bicyclists, it could have made section 316.193 applicable only to a “motor vehicle,” as the statutory definition of a motor vehicle excludes bicycles, § 316.003(21), Fla. Stat. (1985). 2 Since the words used in the statute are clear, we must presume that the legislature meant what it said and purposely chose to make section 316.193 apply to all vehicles, rather than just “motor vehicles.” Cf. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Kuhn, 374 So.2d 1079, 1080-81 (Fla. 3d DCA 1979) (“where words used and grammatical construction employed in a statute are clear and they convey a definite meaning, the legislature is presumed to have meant what it said and therefore, it is unnecessary to resort to the rules of statutory construction”), appeal dismissed, 383 So.2d 1197 (Fla.1980). 3
Since section 316.193 applies to all persons driving, or in actual physical control of, any “vehicle,” and since a bicycle is a “vehicle” as defined in section 316.003(64), we find that section 316.193 applies to bicyclists.
It is important to consult with a lawyer who has extensive experience handling DUI cases. Lloyd Golburgh has been a South Florida DUI Attorney since 1996 and has achieved tremendous success in defending people charge with DUI. Call him today for your free consultation.