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Bicyclists: You can face a drunk driving charge

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | DUI

Many people associate drunk driving with motor vehicles; however, North Carolina law doesn’t limit that criminal charge to those vehicles. In this state, drunk driving also covers anything that a person can operate to get around. This includes bicycles.  

The possibility of drunk driving charges for a person on a bicycle effectively takes away what some consider an alternative to driving a vehicle. There are a few things to know about this type of charge. 

Blood alcohol concentration 

The blood alcohol concentration limits are the same for bicycling people and those driving a vehicle. For people 21 years old and older, the limit is .08%, but there’s no acceptable limit for younger drivers. Commercial drivers have a BAC limit of .04%. 

Strict penalties apply 

The penalties for drunk driving in North Carolina depend on the level of the charge. Level 5 is the least serious and comes with 24 hours to 60 days in jail and a $200 fine.  

Lower numbers become progressively more severe, with Level 1 Aggravated being the most serious of the charges. A Level 1 conviction has a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and a maximum of two years. The fine is up to $4,000. 

There are a few things that can lead to an aggravated charge. These include having prior convictions or having a BAC of .15% or higher. Aggravated charges come with more severe penalties.  

Some might think that drunk driving on a bicycle isn’t as serious as drunk driving in a vehicle, but that’s not the case. The penalties are severe for all charges, so all defendants must have a suitable defense strategy.