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DUI on Motorcycles, Boats or Planes

California under the influence of alcohol or drugs cases involving boats, planes, motorcycles or bicycles are similar in many respects to California drunk driving cases involving cars and trucks. However, there are also important differences. The operation of boats, planes and bicycles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are each separate offenses under California law. Each offense carries significant consequences, but can be fought and won with expert legal advice. An experienced California criminal DUI defense lawyer from the Law Office of Robert Tayac can successfully challenge DUI charges involving motorcycles, vessels, aircraft and bicycles in criminal court and can provide guidance on how each case is likely to be charged and resolved based on the specific facts of the offense.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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The definition of a vehicle varies from state to state. The California Vehicle Code defines a vehicle as "a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks." This definition includes motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, mopeds, scooters and bicycles.

Motorcycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs is very similar to California DUI cases involving more traditional passenger vehicles, and is charged under the same statutes. Motorcycling under the influence arrests generate two separate cases - in criminal DUI court, and at the California DMV. Like anyone else arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, motorcycle riders arrested for DUI must request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing from the California DMV within 10 days of arrest (including weekends and holidays). If the motorcyclist does not request the APS hearing, the California DMV will begin the process of automatically suspending his or her driver's license.

At the California DMV hearing, the hearing officer need only establish by a preponderance of the evidence - the lowest standard in law - that police had a reason to believe that a crime was being committed, that the arrest was lawful, and that the motorcyclist had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood in a violation of the California Vehicle Code Section 23152 - Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. If those facts are proven, the motorcyclist will lose his or her license.

Motorcyclists face the same criminal DUI court punishment handed down as those who are convicted of driving cars under the influence of alcohol. The punishments include jail time, fines, alcohol education classes, and probation.

Boating under the influence (BUI) is covered by California's Harbors and Navigation Code, which defines being under the influence as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater for recreational vessels and .04 percent for commercial craft. The statute sets a zero tolerance for craft such as aquaplanes and water skis, meaning that the user cannot ingest any alcohol at all.

Boating under the influence has serious consequences, including fines and possible jail time. Individuals facing a charge of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California should consult with a California BUI attorney experienced in defending BUI or BWI cases.

Flying any aircraft, either commercial or private, under the influence of alcohol or drugs (FUI) can result in charges being brought under federal and/or state law, and the potential penalties are severe. The Federal Aviation Administration strictly regulates the consumption of alcohol by crew members of all civil aircraft. FAA rules dictate that no one may act as a crew member if he or she has consumed alcohol within eight hours of a flight, has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 percent or greater, or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A pilot or crew member found guilty of violating any of these provisions faces imprisonment, fines, and revocation of his or her pilot's license.

Pilots of civil aircraft are subject to an implied consent law similar to the rules governing vehicles on the ground. Implied consent means that a pilot arrested for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs must submit to a chemical test upon request. A pilot who refuses a chemical test risks a substantial fine and suspension or revocation of his or her pilot's license.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) convictions also can threaten a pilot's flying privileges. DUI convictions must be reported to the FAA on the pilot's first-class medical application, and to the Civil Action Security Division in Oklahoma City. The pilot must make this notification within 60 days of being convicted of drinking and driving.

A cycling under the influence (CUI) conviction can result in a fine of $250 - considerably less than the punishment for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. A bicycle doesn't fit the definition of a vehicle in California, and therefore is not covered by the usual laws governing drunk driving. However, the California Vehicle Code has a separate section covering bicycles that prohibits riding a bicycle on a highway while intoxicated - California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5 - Riding Bicycle Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.

Although the definition of highway includes public streets, it doesn't cover private roads and driveways. One way to attack a cycling under influence of alcohol or drugs charge is to challenge whether the cyclist was in fact riding on a highway.

Riding a motorcycle, boating, flying or riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs are serious accusations that can bring harsh punishment in California criminal courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, all of these charges can be successfully challenged in criminal court. A skilled San Francisco Bay Area BUI lawyer with experience defending boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (BUI), motorcycling under the influence, flying under the influence, FUI or FWI, and cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs cases can successfully challenge these offenses in court and may achieve results that limit the penalties and consequences associated with the charges.

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