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Can I Get a DUI for Riding a Bike Drunk in Tennessee?

A DUI conviction can result in harsh penalties, such as jail time, fines, and even driver’s license suspension. That is why many people try to avoid criminal charges by riding their bicycles, rather than driving their vehicles. 

But can you get a DUI for riding a bike while intoxicated in Tennessee? According to state DUI laws, it is unlawful to operate or be in physical control of an automobile or motor-driven vehicle on any public road, highway, street, alley, or parking lots and premises the public at large commonly frequents. 

So, unless the bicycle is powered by a motor, a person cannot be charged with a DUI in Tennessee for riding a bike while impaired. On the other hand, you can get charged with drunk or drugged driving for riding a scooter, golf cart, moped, or even lawnmower because they are all motorized vehicles. 

However, riding a bicycle while impaired may still result in other criminal charges. For example, if you are under the influence while riding a bike and you nearly cause a car accident by biking erratically on the road or strike a pedestrian on the sidewalk, you could be charged with public intoxication, which is a Class C misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail sentence of 30 days and/or a fine of up to $50. 

In addition, if you are intoxicated while riding but not being unreasonably annoying or endangering others, the police may take you into protective custody and have you check into a treatment facility. When law enforcement officials take someone to get treatment, officers will not create a criminal record. 

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Knoxville, call Eldridge and Cravens, PC at (865) 544-2010 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free consultation. Our legal team has more than nine decades of combined legal experience!