People often ask if someone can be convicted of a DUI on a bicycle. Unfortunately, there is no Arizona law which directly addresses this issue. However, an analysis of Arizona law suggests that a conviction for a DUI on a bicycle would be unlikely.
Arizona law says that bicyclists are "...subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle" (A.R.S. Â§28-812). This statute appears to subject bicycles to DUI law. However, Arizona DUI law says: a person must not "drive... a vehicle" under the influence... (A.R.S. Â§28-1381). So the question becomes is a bicycle a vehicle under Arizona law?
Arizona law defines vehicle as "a device in, on or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway, excluding devices moved by human power..." (ARS Â§28-101.56). This definition seems to clearly state that bicycles, which are moved by human power, are not subject to Arizona DUI laws. It should be noted that a motorized bicycle would qualify as a vehicle and therefore the rider could be prosecuted for DUI under Arizona law.
We discussed this issue with current and former prosecutors from the City of Scottsdale, City of Tempe and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. These three attorneys have over 30 years combined experience and none of them have ever seen a person prosecuted for a DUI on a bicycle. However, police officers can sometimes be overly aggressive and poorly informed. The fact that the law appears to exclude bicycle riders from DUI's does not mean that an overly aggressive officer cannot arrest someone in this situation. If this were to happen, it would be essential to hire an experienced defense attorney who understands the law in Arizona.
This is a perfect example as to how an uninformed citizen could be taken advantage of by a law enforcement officer. At the Rosenstein Law Group we make it a priority to educate our clients about their rights, and to make sure that those rights are not taken advantage of. Please do not hesitate to call us at 480-248-7666 if you feel that you may have been unlawfully charged with a DUI or criminal action.