Skip to main content

Can I Get A DUI While Riding A Bicycle?

Can I Get A DUI While Riding A Bicycle?

It’s a well-known fact that here in Washington State you can get a DUI while driving a motorized vehicle or operating a motorized boat if you are under the influence of alcohol, but can you also be charged with a DUI if your riding your bicycle while intoxicated?

The answer is NO, you can not be charged with a DUI in Washington State if you are riding your bike while drunk.  However, every state has their own laws pertaining to DUI bike riding.  For example, if you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on a public road in California, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and face a $250.00 fine (separate from a motorized DUI charge).  Contrasting California’s DUI bike laws, are states such as South Dakota who encourage individuals to ride their bike if they are intoxicated rather than getting behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle.

Here in Washington State, a law enforcement officer cannot arrest an individual for riding their bicycle while under the influence.  The officer does have the authority to stop the bicyclist and ask them if they would voluntarily like to be transported somewhere or if they would like to have another competent individual escort them home.  If the bicyclist refuses help, the officer must let them proceed without any further action.  Lastly, the officer may impound the bike if they feel the bicyclist is a threat to public safety and there is no alternative to impounding the bike.  Luckily for the bicyclist, once they are no longer intoxicated they can reclaim their bike without paying an impound fee.

So Seattle and Washington State bikers, enjoy the summer winds, stop and indulge in some happy hour, and hit the roads again without the fear of being charged with biking DUI.  Bike safely and know your legal rights!

Here is RCW 46.61.790, Intoxicated bicyclists. (Derived from

(1) A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right-of-way of a public roadway, unless the bicycle rider is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated bicycle rider under this section shall:

(a) Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or

(b) Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person.

(2) The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the bicycle rider to accept this assistance.

(3) The law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicyclist will be given a written notice of when and where the impounded bicycle may be reclaimed. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee. If the bicycle is not reclaimed within thirty days, it will be subject to sale or disposal consistent with agency procedures.


Written by Senior DUI Defense Attorney David O

Co-Written by SAO


What You Need To Know About DUI Checkpoints!

What You Need To Know About DUI Checkpoints!

As the holidays come to an end, and our christmas debt is almost completely diminished from loyal monthly payments, we turn our attention and daydreams to our upcoming vacations, after all spring break is only right around the corner .  For many of us, our spring and summer vacations will be spent on the road, traveling by fuel-efficient cars, mini vans, and RVs.  Taking a road trip from one state to another hoping to be the first individual to spot a native animal from the fogged up windows while heading towards our classic tourist site destination, such as Old Faithful.

Savvy road travelers beware… you may be driving in a state that utilizes DUI checkpoints!

Imagine you are on your road trip wandering through California and you stop at a local vineyard in Napa Valley to enjoy a beautiful lunch and a robust glass of wine, when in Rome, you roam!  Now imagine getting into your Prius with your significant other and continuing on your drive towards the California Redwoods National Park on a mission to view some of the world’s largest trees.  Sounds nice, right?  Now imagine you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint.  Not so nice!  Actually a huge buzz kill, and now you are facing the possibility of being charged with a DUI  (driving under the influence) in a state that you are not even a resident in.

Currently 38 states conduct DUI checkpoints, which are also known as “sobriety checkpoints.”  Thus if driving across the country, the chance of driving through a state that uses DUI checkpoints is high.  What is a DUI checkpoint?  A DUI checkpoint is a blockade set up along a road where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment.  Many jurisdictions utilize sobriety checkpoints as part of their larger drunk driving deterrence program.

By no means should DUI checkpoints detour us adventure seekers from hitting the roads, but it is in our best interests to know which states conduct DUI checkpoints so there are no surprises!

Road travelers… here is a list of States and areas that DO USE DUI checkpoints according to the Governors Highway Safety Association;  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia,  Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New  Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Road travelers… here is a list of safe states that DO NOT USE DUI checkpoints;  Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Enjoy your road trip travels and call David O Defense to speak with a DUI defense attorney if you have any further legal questions about DUI checkpoints, 206-459-6392.


Written by S.O

High School Bus Driver Charged with DUI, Reckless Endangerment, and 36 Counts of Child Abuse

High School Bus Driver Charged with DUI, Reckless Endangerment, and 36 Counts of Child Abuse

Unbelievable newsworthy story originating out of Westminster Colorado, where high school bus driver, Burton Carpenter, allegedly consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel of the bus to drive 30 high school football players to their September game.  Needless to say, police were called and Carpenter was arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

According to a Mountain Range football coach, Carpenter was so intoxicated that he couldn’t drive the bus straight, he was straddling lanes, and had to be directed back into the school parking lot where he crashed into a parked pickup truck.

A bystander claimed, Carpenter gloated that he had been drinking vodka from a 32oz. Gatorade bottle.

When Colorado police arrived on the scene, they noted Carpenter’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, and when he exited the bus he fell down the steps catching himself on the side of the bus.  Police reported his BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level was .20, over twice the legal DUI limit and claimed Carpenter openly admitted to drinking Vodka before driving.

Carpenter was arrested and taken to the police station.  In addition to being charged with DUI, Burton Carpenter was also formally charged with reckless endangerment and 36 counts of child abuse.  He is due back in court sometime in December.

The Adams School District reported they run criminal background checks on all bus drivers and Carpenter’s was clean when they hired him under a year ago.  However, police discovered he had lost his prior job as a nurse due to substance abuse problems.

My guess is Burton would be a good candidate for a deferred prosecution.  In Washington State, a deferred prosecution is a special program for those suffering with alcoholism.  The deferred prosecution is a five-year program which includes court supervision, monitoring and two years of alcohol/drug treatment.  If an individual successfully completes the five-year program without any violations the charge of driving under the influence (DUI) will be dismissed.  This is a great program for some because it creates a win win.


Written by S.O