Can I Get a DWI While Biking in North Carolina?

A man riding a bike in a busy city.

Instead of driving after having a few alcohol beverages, many people believe riding a bicycle is the wisest and safest alternative. Unfortunately, it is possible to still get a DWI in North Carolina for biking while intoxicated.

According to North Carolina DWI law, driving while impaired means operating “any vehicle” on a road, highway, or any public vehicular access areas (i.e. parking lots, driveways, alleys, etc.) with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent or with any amount of drug in your system. Although vehicles do not include devices powered by humans, there is an exception to bicycles and electric-assisted bicycles.

Furthermore, a cyclist is considered an “operator” – or driver – by state law. An operator of a vehicle is someone who has the engine running or actual physical control. Since there is no engine on a bicycle, being in actual physical control would be using the bike while it is in motion, rather than walking a bicycle down the street or sitting on the bike seat.

A conviction of a bicycle DWI is the same as a vehicle DWI, punishable by jail time, fines, and even driver’s license suspension. Although the offense was committed a bicycle, a DWI is still a DWI on a criminal record.

At Jetton & Meredith, PLLC, we recommend that our clients avoid biking or operating any type of vehicle – such as boats, e-scooters, golf carts, and lawnmowers – while under the influence. If you have been arrested for DWI in Charlotte, our legal team has decades of combined trial-tested experience to help you avoid harsh criminal penalties or get your entire case dismissed.

Arrested for DWI in Charlotte? Contact Jetton & Meredith, PLLC today at (704) 931-5535 and schedule an initial consultation.