Did you know that in some states you can get charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) while riding a bicycle? Even in Texas, specific laws are quite ambiguous.
According to Texas DWI, a motor vehicle is defined as “a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.” Since this definition is very broad, non-motorized vehicles like bicycles, skateboards, and even animals like horses can technically be construed as motor vehicles.
Fortunately, most courts will not prosecute DWI cases involving cyclists. However, bikers may face other criminal charges for riding under the influence.
For example, a cyclist can be charged with public intoxication for being in a public place while intoxicated to a point where he/she can be a danger to himself/herself or others. So, if the police find you struggling to ride on one side of the road, smell alcohol on your breath, or slur your words while speaking, this is enough probable cause to make an arrest.
Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500. Compared to a DUI, you will not have to potentially serve jail time or have your driver’s license suspended.
Furthermore, if you are biking while intoxicated and end up causing a car accident and injuring a driver, you may be held liable for the collision. Since civil law is more lenient than criminal law, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars or even more in damages.
If you are facing DWI charges in Bryan or College Station, contact Shane Phelps Law. today at (979) 773-7028 for a free initial consultation. Available 24/7!