To avoid getting arrested for a DWI in Texas, many people believe riding a bicycle while impaired – rather than driving a car – will not lead to criminal charges. However, some state prosecutors may argue that bicycles are covered under the law.
According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits a DWI if he/she is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent.
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.”
Due to the vagueness of the definition of a motor vehicle, it is possible that some courts may view bicycles as vehicles. The law states that any device that can transport people or property can be interpreted as a motor vehicle.
Fortunately, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you exploit the weakness of the prosecution’s argument, especially if you did not harm others or damage property during the incident. Remember, a first-time DWI in Texas is punishable by a license suspension, fines, and potentially jail time, which is why it is imperative to have a skilled legal professional on your side.
Furthermore, riding a bike while intoxicated can also lead to other charges, such a public intoxication. If you injure someone or damage property, you could be held civilly liable and have a personal injury lawsuit filed against you.
In conclusion, you should think twice about bicycling after having a few drinks. If you initially didn’t plan on drinking before riding your bike, do not risk facing criminal charges and ask someone to take you home or pick you up, or request a ride through Uber or Lyft, and do not forget to lock your bicycle up in a safe area.