Don’t do it
If you think riding your motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not as big an issue as if you were driving a car, think again. Not only is it equally illegal in Los Angeles and throughout California, riding under the influence is arguably even more dangerous to you, any passenger riding with you, and to other people with whom you share the road.
DUIs cost motorcycle riders their lives
The applicable California Vehicle Code addressing driving under the influence (DUI) offenses applies to any motor vehicle, which includes motorcycles. Therefore, the same restrictions and penalties a car, truck, or other motorist would face if convicted of drinking or doing drugs and driving apply to motorcyclists.
Despite this, far too many motorcycle riders continue to take their lives and those of others in their hands by drinking or using recreational drugs before hopping on their bikes. Multiple reports issued in 2018 estimate 5,000-plus motorcycle riders were involved in fatal crashes tied to alcohol consumption in the United States. Of these, about 26 percent involved motorcyclists with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. And although research is ongoing into the effects of marijuana and other legal and illegal substances, early results indicate that users are likelier to take more dangerous risks (e.g., not wear a helmet) and experience more single-vehicle motorcycle accidents.
There is no denying that using alcohol and/or drugs affects your judgment, balance, and coordination—all of which are vital components of safe motorcycle operation. They also reduce alertness to danger and your ability to react to and avoid sudden threats, such as a car veering into your lane. However, if your safety and that of others isn’t enough to convince you to ride sober, then perhaps the harsh penalties for not doing so will.
Legal implication of a California motorcycle DUI
With regards to alcohol use, if you are an adult (defined as 21 or older) and pulled over, tested, and found to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher, you will be arrested for DUI. Note that if you are under 21, you only have to be found with a BAC of .01 percent or higher to face harsh penalties.
Following a DUI arrest, you will have ten days to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a hearing to determine whether you will retain your license to ride a motorcycle. If you do not contact them before the deadline, your motorcycle license will be suspended automatically.
In addition to losing your license, you will likely receive jail time or community service, and be responsible for paying hefty fines. You will probably have to undergo a rehabilitative program as directed by the court as well. Additionally, you should be aware that a DUI conviction remains on your driving record for a decade.
Los Angeles motorcycle crash lawyer
Although you can reduce your risk of causing a serious motorcycle accident by not drinking or taking drugs, you cannot control the actions of other riders and drivers with whom you share the road. If someone driving under the influence injures you, Scott J. Corwin, a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney, can help. Call Scott’s office at 866-477-1011 to find out how.