Motorcyclists be aware: California DUI laws apply to you, too...
1. Common Charges for Motorcycling Under the Influence
All California DUI offenses apply to automobile drivers and motorcyclists equally. Common motorcyling under the influences charges include:
- Riding while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol -- Vehicle Code 23152(a),
- Riding with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater --Vehicle Code 23152(b) , and
- Rider under 21 years of age with a BAC of .05% to .07% -- Vehicle Code 23140.
2. More Serious Charges for Motorcycling Under the Influence
If you ride intoxicated and are involved in an accident that injures or kills another person, more serious charges could result. These include possible felony charges for:
- California DUI causing injury,
- California gross vehicular manslaughter, and even
- California DUI murder.
3. When Can a Cop Pull Me Over for a Motorcycle DUI?
Many of the same traffic violations that apply to automotive DUI apply to motorcycles. These include:
- "rolling" through a stop sign,
- running a red light, and
- failure to stay in your lane.
But there are additional things law enforcement looks for with motorcyclists, such as:
- trouble mounting one's bike,
- poor balance at a stop, and
- "late braking" during a curve.
4. What Happens if I am Pulled Over for Motorcycling Under the Influence?
Law enforcement uses the same procedures for any suspected DUI. It doesn't matter whether the vehicle involved is a car, motorcycle, boat or other motor vehicle.
You may be asked to take preliminary tests, such as:
- a pre-arrest DUI breath test, or
- one or more field sobriety tests.
These pre-arrest tests are not mandatory. If you are asked to take them, you may politely decline.
- increased jail time, and
- a longer suspension of your driver's license.
5. Penalties for Motorcycling Under the Influence in California
Punishments for motorcyling under the influence are the same as other California DUI penalties. For a first-time offense, they can include:
- three-five years of informal probation (also known as "summary" probation),
- up to six months in a county jail,
- between $390-$1,000 in fines,
- a court-ordered three- or nine-month alcohol and/or drug education program (AB541 class), and
- suspension of your driver's license for six or 10 months.
6. Legal Defenses to California Motorcycling Under the Influence
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI on a motorcycle, don't despair. Our lawyers use many of the same successful strategies we use to fight auto-related DUIs.
Among the defenses we might argue on your behalf are:
- you didn't use drugs and/or alcohol,
- you weren't actually impaired when you rode,
- the traffic stop wasn't legally justified,
- your field sobriety tests weren't properly given,
- your arrest wasn't lawful, or
- there were problems with your breath test or problems with your blood test.
Our Southern California DUI lawyers have years of experience defending people charged with motorcycle and other DUIs throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Being charged with DUI while riding a motorcycle does not mean you will be found guilty. Contact us today to see how we can help you keep your record clean and your driver's license valid.