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DUI on a Bicycle

A DUI For Riding A Bicycle?

/ Criminal Defense

Over the past few years, I have often been asked by people if it is possible to get a DUI in North Dakota while riding their bicycle home from a bar. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes, you can, in fact, get a DUI on a bicycle in North Dakota. This comes as a surprise to many people.

The question becomes then, what other things could you be riding and be subject to a criminal charge of DUI in North Dakota? For instance, can you get a DUI for riding a horse?

The North Dakota Supreme Court has not yet been faced with this particular issue. However, based on a prior case in North Dakota where the Supreme Court found you can get a DUI on a bicycle, the answer appears to be that yes, you can get a DUI in North Dakota when riding a horse while intoxicated. In 2012 the North Dakota Supreme Court was faced with a case where an individual was arrested for DUI while riding his bicycle after he ran into a car.

In City of Lincoln v. Johnston, 2012 ND 139, 818 N.W.2d 778, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Johnston was properly convicted of a DUI while riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol pursuant to North Dakota law. The Court specifically deemed that North Dakota Century Code § 39-07-01 was applicable, which states the following:

For the purposes of chapters 39-08 through 39-13, a bicycle or a ridden animal must be deemed a vehicle.

N.D.C.C. § 39-07-01.

In that regard, I believe that if the North Dakota Supreme Court was faced with a similar question where an individual was arrested for DUI while riding a horse, it appears it would reach the same conclusion under the “ridden animal” portion of the statute. Furthermore, it appears that it would not only apply to riding a horse but would include the riding of any animal for transport. Although, I am not sure in North Dakota what other types of animals that would be, as I do not see many people riding anything other than horses for transportation.

As such, if you find yourself under the influence of alcohol, do not ride your bicycle or horse, and instead, call a sober ride to get you home!

If you are arrested for DUI or test refusal in North Dakota, Severson, Wogsland & Liebl’s criminal attorneys will give a free initial consultation related to your case. In North Dakota, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately following an arrest for DUI for a consult, as there are strict time deadlines for requesting administrative hearings to attempt to save your drivers license from suspension or revocation. That deadline passes 10 days after issuance of a 25-day Report and Notice, which in many cases is issued the same day as the arrest. If that deadline is not met, your license will automatically be suspended or revoked by the NDDOT, and there can be nothing that can be done to save it at that point. Also, in certain cases for test refusal, there are 25-day deadlines to “cure” the refusal if you want to save your license from revocation. Therefore, feel free to contact SW&L Attorneys should you find yourself charged with a DUI at 701-297-2890, and ask for Nathan Severson or Luke Heck.