Readers are likely already aware of Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law, under which motorists are assumed to have given consent to the performance of chemical testing to allow authorities to determine their level of intoxication. The implied consent law does not mean that a suspected drunk-driver may not refuse chemical testing, but it does prescribe automatic penalties for refusal.
Under a recent ruling by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, bicyclists under suspicion of being intoxicated can be required to submit to blood testing when police make such a request. Failure to submit can result in drivers’ license suspension.
The decision was based on a case in which a man was stopped by a police officer for riding his bicycle through a red light and failing to utilize a headlight and side reflectors. The man was subsequently charged with DUI, though he ultimately pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct. Nevertheless, his driver’s license was suspended for 18 months because he had refused to submit to a blood sample.
The decision was largely decided on the basis that the Pennsylvania DUI law was amended so that the blood test requirement applies to a driver of any type of vehicle. The decision is obviously one Pennsylvania residents will want to keep in mind when riding a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.
Anybody charged with DUI, even for riding a bicycle, has the right to defend themselves in court and to take advantage of available legal protections. In some cases, there can be issues with how police performed their investigation or with the evidence in support of specific charges brought against a defendant, and an experienced attorney is a critical asset in building a strong defense.
Source: Pennlives.com, “Bicyclists must submit to blood tests in DUI stops or lose their driver’s licenses, Pa. court rules,” Mat Miller, May 28, 2014.