DUI on Motorized Bike
Arizona has some of the harshest drunk driving laws in the country. These laws apply to vehicles in general, meaning that riders on motorized bikes may be pulled over and prosecuted for drunk driving. If you were charged with a DUI on a motorized bike, it is important to understand your legal rights. Dedicated Phoenix DUI attorney James Novak can review the facts of your case and potentially help you put forward a defense.DUI on a Motorized Bike
Arizona’s DUI law leaves out most bicycle riders because they are powered by humans, rather than motors. However, someone operating a motorized bicycle may be charged with a DUI, just as the driver of a passenger car would. Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 28-101, a “vehicle” is a device by which someone can be transported or drawn on a public highway, but which is not human-powered. While cyclists on ordinary bicycles can’t be charged with a DUI, a motorized bicycle can be considered a vehicle under this law, and as if you are caught operating a motorized bike while intoxicated, you could face DUI prosecution.
It’s illegal to physically control or drive a motorized bike while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, drug, or vapor that includes a toxic substance or combination of substances if it impairs you even to the slightest degree. It is also illegal to physically control a motorized bike if you have an alcohol concentration in your blood of at least .08% within 2 hours of driving or physically controlling the vehicle. It’s also illegal to operate a motorized bike while under the influence of a drug or its derivatives as defined under A.R.S. section 13-3401.
In addition to a DUI, you could face other charges for riding a motorized bicycle while drunk, including reckless conduct, public intoxication, and disturbing the peace. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a plea deal in which the DUI charge is dismissed if you plead guilty to a lesser offense. An experienced attorney can assess your entire situation and help you develop a defense, whether that involves negotiating a plea deal, bringing a motion to suppress, or going to trial.Defenses
You shouldn’t assume that a conviction is assured if you are charged with DUI on a motorized bike. The appropriate defense strategy depends on the circumstances. There may be constitutional or procedural defenses that apply.
Under the Fourth Amendment, in order to pull you over on a motorized bike, a police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. He must be able to state particular facts that made him suspicious; he can’t simply point out that he had a hunch that you were riding the motorized bike drunk. If an officer did not have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing when he pulled you over, you may be able to bring a motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the illegal detention. For example, a breath test taken after an illegal detention may be suppressed. Further, in order to arrest you, a police officer must have probable cause. If there was no probable cause, you may be able to get all evidence obtained as a result of the arrest suppressed.
In addition, sometimes there are strong defenses that may be built in connection with any field sobriety or chemical testing that was performed in your case. For example, you may be able to challenge the lab protocol for a blood test, or there may be a way to challenge the results of a field sobriety test.
Finally, if you were pulled over when the motor of the bike wasn’t activated, you might be able to argue that it shouldn’t count as a vehicle under A.R.S. section 28-101.DUI Defense Attorney for Residents of the Greater Phoenix Area
If you have been charged with a DUI on a motorized bike, you can talk about your situation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Novak defends people who are facing prosecution for drunk driving in and around the Phoenix area, including in Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, and Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.