You cannot be criminalized for DUI (Driving under the influence) in Nevada when biking drunk or intoxicated as bicycles are not treated by the State as motorized vehicles. Hence, DUI on a bicycle is not a thing.
Still, you could be charged and eventually convicted of other crimes since using a bicycle when under the influence could still lead to dangers that might cost you and other people’s lives.
Read on to learn more about DUI on a bicycle in Nevada or rather the lack of it to help you in case you encounter it in the near future.
What constitutes drunk biking?
Nevada is an ideal spot for biking as it has lots of highways and empty spaces as it is essentially an arid desert. With the crowd of bikers roaming the State, accidents are inevitable, especially in places like Las Vegas where there are intense traffic and narrower roads. In 2017, at least 115 cyclists died in Las Vegas while biking.
For sure, some of these cases involve intoxicated drivers. And while drunk biking is not considered as DUI on a bicycle in Nevada, driving while intoxicated still holds certain charges when found guilty. Biking without complete control of your navigation is reckless endangerment and this is punishable under Nevada law. Even riding electronic bikes, skateboards, and other non-motorized vehicles while drunk can still be under reckless endangerment.
According to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 202.595, reckless endangerment is the “act or neglect of duty in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property”. Meaning if you are well aware that you are drunk but still gets on a bicycle you can still be charged as it shows your negligence of other’s people’s welfare. Virtually the same as regular DUI which is why many assume that DUI on a bike exists.
What are the penalties for DUI on a bicycle?
While fairly a broad matter with different punishments depending on the situation, reckless endangerment has the following general penalties.
If your drunk biking did not cause any harm or injury, it shall be classified as a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors usually have consequences of at least a year in jail and a fine of $2,000.
Now if there are substantial bodily harm and even death in the victims, a category C felony should be in order. This means one to five years in prison and a fine that does not exceed $10,000. This is understandably lighter than the penalties of DUI with serious injury or death.
Of course, the drunk cyclist can also face other violations of Las Vegas bicycle laws aside from the reckless endangerment offenses. NRS 484B.270 enumerates things a cyclist should not do when in the road such as “intentionally interfere with the movement of a motor vehicle” or “overtake and pass a motor vehicle”.
What are the defenses against drunk biking in Nevada?
Even though a DUI on a bicycle practically does not exist, you can still consider defenses typically used on certain DUI cases.
You can dispute that you were not drunk the moment you have ridden the vehicle and you can prove this with pieces of evidence such as the results of sobriety test done on you or even footages of you inside a bar.
The incident not being entirely your fault is also a defense you can use. With proper presentation, you can claim that the supposed victim was the one who caused the collision. Unlawful obstruction and other police misconduct are also other angles that can be showed in court.
Drunk biking, no matter how you look at it is illegal and it being not under DUI charges should not mean an indifferent treatment towards it. A required set of penalties will still befall you. If it finally happens, better enlist the aid of a Las Vegas DUI lawyer who is an expert about DUI and particular Las Vegas bicycle laws to ensure that you are on the right path to freedom.