Don’t Drink & Bike

When it comes to getting behind the wheel after having had one drink too many, the law is pretty clear; it’s illegal and criminal charges can arise from it, especially if an accident resulting in an injury is involved. A car is, after all, a heavy piece of machinery, and when something with that much mass is traveling at high speeds and loses control, the results for people are often catastrophic.

However, while it is a criminal act to get into a car, and drive it along Florida roads and streets, what does it mean for people that decide to hop on a bike and get themselves home?

BUI Exists

Florida has some pretty strict laws when it comes to vehicles. Of course, impaired driving in cars is well documented, and because of the great weather we have in this state, boating also tends to bring with it some alcohol consumption that may result in charges.

However, whereas some states do not view human powered hardware like bicycles as vehicles in the same class as a car or a boat, Florida does. In other words, biking while under the influence exists as a law in the state of Florida and has the same threshold for impairment, a blood-alcohol level 0.08 percent.

Another thing to keep in mind is that BUI charges can have the same consequences as a DUI charge. There can be fines, jail time, and even a suspension of a driver’s license, even though it wasn’t a car that was involved in the violation. So depending on how things go, a BUI charge may result in a criminal record.

Results Vary

One thing that a BUI does have going in its favor is the frequency of harsh penalties being meted out. Unlike driving a car, which can cause immense amounts of damage when control is lost, a bicycle accident tends to be less catastrophic. It’s not unusual in the case of BUI for a drunk cyclist to be let off with a warning, or a small fine, rather than be charged to the fullest extent of the law with a criminal record. For example, one cyclist was eventually charged with a BUI and had his driver’s license suspended for 10 years. In this case, however, this was the third time this particular person had been hit with a drunk related charge. As a result, the judge in the case decided to adhere to the stipulations in the law about multiple DUI offenses within 10 years.

However, for someone that is charged for the first time, with no prior offenses, there may be some leeway. It’s a much more flexible situation when it comes to bikers.

Harm Is Harm

The one thing that does not change is the potential of harm that comes with a BUI. Alcohol impairs judgment and reflexes, and that can have terrible consequences on the road. In fact, 25% of the bicycle accidents that occur in Florida have had a drunk cyclist involved. This is why it’s important, especially if you’re a cyclist that’s been injured, to talk to a seasoned accident attorney and find out what your next moves should be.