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California Cycling Under the Influence ("CUI") - Vehicle Code 21200.5

Be careful on your bike... riders can be stopped and charged for "cycling / bicycling / biking under the influence"...

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Some find it strange, but our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers will assure anyone that California Vehicle Code section 21200.5 makes riding a bike under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or their combined influence a crime. Not only that, VC 21200.5 makes California cycling under the influence a misdemeanor offense for which you can be jailed, fined, and stuck with a criminal record.

Unlike California DUI laws, California cycling (biking or bicycling) under the influence laws do not impose a rigid "legal limit" of .08% blood alcohol content. On the other hand, law enforcement officers can charge someone with CUI based on the same personal observations of intoxication used with DUI. Those include imbalance, weaving, watery or bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and alcoholic odor on one's breath or person.

Just as the police are required to have a legally sufficient reason to "stop" a driver before initiating a DUI investigation, they must also have one to stop a cyclist prior to a CUI investigation. Our
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers point out that the police often cite failure to operate a bicycle with a headlight in darkness as justification to stop a cyclist before investigating them for CUI (see California Vehicle Code section 21201(d)(2)).

While prosecutors are usually willing to resolve a California cycling under the influence charge for the statutory fine of $250, that relatively low expense does not reflect the future impact a misdemeanor conviction may have on someone's criminal record. And although a CUI charge will not result in negative consequences to the driving privileges of a rider over the age of 21, it could result in a one year driving suspension for a rider under the age of 21(see CA VC section 212500.5 referencing section 13202.5).

Before someone decides to accept a "quick fix" to a CUI charge, he or she should consult with an experienced defense attorney. Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers know how to challenge intoxication accusations, regardless of whether they concern cars or bicycles. We also know that law enforcement will stop drivers and cyclists without the sufficient cause required by law and then attempt to justify the stop with what they claim to discover later. Similarly, their personal observations of intoxication are often flawed, incomplete, and anecdotal. In the process of mounting a vigorous defense, these errors come to light, allowing us to help clients keep their records clean and their driving privileges intact.

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DUI cases are rarely hopeless. DUI convictions are almost never inevitable. Clients retain our California DUI defense attorneys for one reason: they want to fight the case. And win.

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The police arrested you for DUI. You gave a blood or a breath sample. The DUI officer confiscated you drivers license. The police released you with a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Where do you go from here? Our lawyers are here to guide you step by step.