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Florida man charged with driving a bicycle while drunk

A Boca Raton man who ran a red light and hit a car while riding a bicycle in the early hours of the morning was allegedly drunk at the time of the incident. Police arrested the man after chasing him down and noting signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and failure to satisfactorily perform two sobriety tests. He also reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer test. Now, he faces DUI and other criminal charges.

Drunk-driving, of course, is a charge that mostly occurs in connection with motorized vehicles, and this is actually a requirement for the charge in most states. The reasons for this policy are obvious-drunken individuals are much more dangerous to others on the roadway when they are operating a motorized vehicle. Florida is among a small group of states, though, that have determined that riding a cycle while intoxicated falls within their DUI statutes. Because of this, those living in and visiting Florida need to be cautious about their alcohol consumption even when they are riding a bicycle.

In this case, the defendant refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, almost assuredly because he didn't want to provide officers with incriminating evidence. Was this a wise decision? Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to refuse an officer's request for a breath test. There a several reasons for this.

First, the penalty for doing so is automatic suspension of one's driver's license for one year. For subsequent refusals, that time is bumped up to 18 months, plus other consequences. Second, refusing to submit to a breath test isn't necessarily going to keep you clear of a DUI charge. All prosecutors need is some evidence that intoxication altered your ability to safely drive to a legally appreciably degree. Having the blood alcohol concentration can help them make their case, but it isn't necessary. Third, even if one does end up giving incriminating evidence to officers by submitting to a breath test, this doesn't necessarily assure a conviction.

There are various grounds upon which one can challenge a drunk-driving charge. Those facing this situation need to speak with an experienced attorney and begin building a solid defense strategy early on. Doing so ensures the best possible result in their case.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Drunken bicyclist hits car, flees scene, police say," Kate Jacobson, March 21, 2014.

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