When you think of DUI, there’s a good chance you take the term at its most literal. The D stands for driving, so you probably think of someone driving a car, truck, or another motor vehicle, while under the influence of alcohol. However, a DUI does not just apply to people who are driving. It can also apply to those who are riding or flying, too. There are several types of vehicles that can fall under the DUI category.
If you are charged with a DUI, which stands for “driving under the influence,” you could be subject to harsh penalties. If you are lucky or if it is your first offense, you may only get a fine and other minor penalties such as a misdemeanor on your record, community service through the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP), informal court probation, DUI school, and possibly restitution which is a payment to any victims who suffered consequences as a result of your wrongdoing. However, you could lose your driver’s license and even go to jail for repeated or serious offenses. That’s why it’s important that you understand DUI laws and all of the ways you can be charged with this offense. Here are some ways to be charged with a DUI that you might not have known about.
DUI Laws Beyond Cars
The law for driving under the influence uses the term “motor vehicle” when it states what cannot be driven while under the influence of alcohol. On the surface, this might seem like a pretty simple standard. If you drink, don’t drive a motor vehicle. However, as the law has evolved, it has been interpreted to mean more than a motor vehicle and more than just under the influence of alcohol. You can be charged with a DUI for taking any substance that might impair your judgment and motor skills while operating a vehicle.
Driving a Boat
A boat can be a motor vehicle, but not all boats are. However, driving or operating any type of boat while under the influence is a crime. In most cases, it qualifies as a misdemeanor, but penalties can range up to a year in prison. That said, if you operate a boat under the influence and injure someone or worse, your penalty will be even more severe, the court can add a 3-year sentence in those cases that involve great bodily injury.
Riding a Bicycle
More and more people are opting to ride their bikes as a means of transportation. As gas prices rise and concerns with climate range reach newer levels, bikes have become an easy and popular way to save money and reduce carbon footprints. Not only that but riding a bike is great exercise. However, too many people think that if they are riding a bike after a night out on the town, they do not have to follow DUI laws. This is false, and dangerous to boot. The penalties for riding a bike under the influence can still cost you the same penalties as driving a motor-operated vehicle.
Driving a Dune Buggy or Similar Off-Road Vehicles
Certain vehicles used for hobbies and in the privacy of own backyards or private lots can be problematic once alcohol and public roadways are involved. If you are driving a dune buggy or similar off-road vehicle, you must do so with ordinary care as any other prudent driver on a public street would. If alcohol is involved, you may get arrested for driving while impaired for DWI if an officer determines that you are under the influence and operating a vehicle in violation of California vehicle code. Whether it’s a neighbor or passerby that observes a driver not practicing ordinary care on a public road, local police agencies can investigate whether a neighbor or witness’s complaint is worth pursuing. The penalties for these types of offenses are similar to that of driving a normal car on the highway.
Flying a Plane or Other Aircraft
The penalties for flying while under the influence can be very severe to reflect the danger and the damage that it can cause. In fact, there is a separate category for this type of offense. It is known as FUI, or flying under the influence. Jail time can range from 6 months to 15 years if you are charged under federal law. You could also face fines of up to $250,000.
More Than Alcohol
The law states that operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug is illegal. The word “drug” can have a broad definition under the law so that it covers anything that might negatively affect your muscles, your brain, or your nervous system. Most people recognize that alcohol, along with narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, or other street drugs would qualify. However, prescription medications can also alter your ability to operate a vehicle. It’s important to pay close attention to the inserts with any prescription medications you are taking to make sure that it is safe to operate a vehicle while taking them.
In California, you can also be charged with a DUI if you operate a vehicle while addicted to drugs. You can only do so if you are registered with a treatment program that is approved by the state.
Do not try to fight DUI charges on your own. If you have been charged with a DUI, and you’re searching for a “DUI attorney near me” make sure to contact one of our Oakland criminal defense firm, our attorneys who have over 30 years of experience defending DUI cases. Drunk driving charges can be successfully fought in court since there is a lot of subjectivity on the part of the testing process and the officer who makes the arrest. Errors happen, and you do not want to miss out on an opportunity for acquittal by not understanding how you could have defended yourself properly.