A DUI charge in Utah can have some serious implications, but DUI law in the state covers more than just motor vehicles. In fact, the official definition of a vehicle in Utah is “. . .a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway.” This gives way for a lot of interpretation for what exactly constitutes a vehicle.
As one of the most consistent and trusted DUI defense lawyers in Utah, here at Kelly Cardon & Associates, we have the knowledge and experience to help you fight your DUI charge. Let us fill you in on the ambiguities of DUI law in Utah as well as answer an otherwise odd question “can you get a DUI charge in Utah for riding a bike while intoxicated?”
As mentioned above, one of the vaguest points of this law is the definition of a vehicle. By this definition, law enforcement officers and Judges have the ability to interpret it as they see appropriate. While this is the case with many laws, this law leaves open the possibility of a bicyclist getting a DUI charge if they ride their bike, while intoxicated. Two horse riders were even convicted of DUI on horseback, although their convictions were later overturned after a costly appeal to the Supreme Court
In short, it is possible to get a DUI charge while riding a bike while drunk in Utah. The argument for this law is that a bicyclist can still cause great harm to himself or herself, as well as others, should they ride while intoxicated. However, if bikes are included in the definition of vehicle, what is stopping them from enforcing the law for rollerbladers, skateboarders, and other non-motor vehicle operators?
Additionally, since you can get a DUI in the state for simply sitting in your car, could you then get a DUI for walking your bike home while under the influence?
An Example of a Bicycle DUI
In June 2008, a Utah man was leaving a bar in Vernal after celebrating the news that he had just received a better job in Nevada. He had already been charged with one DUI and didn’t want to risk another. He had consumed a few alcoholic beverages and knew he wouldn’t be able to drive home so he had taken his bike, as his attorney had advised. On his ride back home, about 300 feet from the bar, he noticed flashing lights. An officer was pulling him over just as if he were driving a car.
This is a rare example, and it should be noted that in Salt Lake City and other urban areas of the state, you are more likely to face a public intoxication charge than a DUI charge for riding your bike while under the influence. However, this is still a dangerous act and it is a better idea to call a taxi cab, or Uber, than it is to try and ride your bike or horse home after a night of drinking.
If you are facing a DUI charge, don’t fight it alone. Contact our law office here or call us at 801.328.1110 for the greater Salt Lake City area or 801.627.1110 for Northern Utah. We can help you build a strong and well researched defense against your DUI charge.