Laws in the state of California considers driving under the influence (DUI) for motorcycles in the same manner as a DUI committed in a full-sized motor vehicle. California law defines a vehicle as being “a device by which a 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.” Based upon this definition, the law includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, mopeds and scooters.
California's motorcycle law
A motorcycle DUI in the state of California will be treated in a similar manner to that involving a DUI committed in another vehicle. For example: just like with other DUIs, persons charged with a DUI while riding a motorcycle in Fresno must request from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) an administrative per se hearing within 10 days of their arrest in order to be able to dispute the automatic suspension of their driver's license.
Persons who are charged with a DUI while riding a motorcycle in Fresno face penalties that are similar to persons who are charged with other types of DUI:
- License suspension;
- License revocation;
- Jail time;
- Community service;
- Fines; and
- Alcohol/DUI education classes.
Will my insurance rates go up after a Fresno DUI?
Motorcycle riders will also face increased insurance premiums after they are convicted of a DUI in Fresno. A special insurance document that is commonly referred to as and SR22 is intended for motorists considered to be a high risk. Normally, an individual is required to carry this type of insurance documentation for approximately three years after reinstatement of a driver's license.
Motorcycle riders are also covered under the state's implied consent law, the same implied consent law that applies to the drivers of other vehicles. This law requires that a person consent to having their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested by law enforcement officers when suspected of driving or flying under the influence. While one can refuse to submit to a BAC test, that refusal may result in harsher penalties than if they had initially agreed to submit to the test.
Pilots with DUI charges in California
If you hold a pilot's license and you have been arrested for DUI of alcohol, drugs or a combination of medication and alcohol, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require that the conviction be reported under Federal Aviation Regulation.14 CFR 61.15. That regulation requires that pilot report the arrest by sending a notification letter to the FAA within 60 calendar days from the effective date of any alcohol-related conviction or administrative actions.
Concurrently, the Department of Justice of the State of California maintains a database of fingerprints submitted through "Live Scans" and will notify any regulating agencies on their licensees of arrests. Also, the National Driver's Registration (NDR) will reveal all alcohol-related arrests and convictions to the FAA due to authorization stemming from their medical application. It should be expected that the FAA will be notified of your arrest within a week.
The consequences resulting from the FAA being notified vary from being placed on probation to termination or revocation of your professional license. Failing to disclose and arrest or conviction can exacerbate the problem and cause more serious disciplinary results. Under 14 CFR 61.15(c), alcohol-related convictions or administrative actions refer to motor vehicle actions (MVA). Examples of these activities are suspensions, revocations and cancellations of your privilege to drive and are reportable.
According to the FAA, if the DUI charge is reduced to reckless, careless, or negligent driving by the court, it is not considered an MVA that is reportable. However, the first suspension will need to be reported, as well as any related administrative action. In other words, regardless of whether or not there was a conviction, the alcohol related administrative action must be reported.
Initial reporting to the FAA about your DUI does not absolve you of further action. MVA administrative actions are considered to be a separate requirement from the reporting on the application for the medical certificate, which mandates reporting both arrests and convictions. This medical certificate application also pertains to student pilots. A common inquiry is whether a DUI expungement will preclude a pilot from having to report the event. Relief provided under the California Vehicle Code 1203.4 does not shield you from FAA disclosure.
Contact a Fresno DUI lawyer
Similar to other drunk-driving related offenses, both motorcycle riders and aircraft operators are facing severe penalties when charged with their respective offenses. While these penalties are harsh and charges are steep, convictions can be avoided with the proper representation. If you are facing charges related to a first offense DUI, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.