First, I suppose we should note that in Florida, a person can be arrested and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for riding a bicycle while impaired from alcohol or drugs. It would certainly be bad luck to get a criminal conviction for DUI in Florida for drunk driving of a bicycle, but it could potentially happen.
If a person is arrested for DUI while on a bicycle, the DUI trial would present different issues from the regular motor vehicle DUI case. In a DUI case involving a motor vehicle, the police officer is going to ask the driver to submit to a breathalyzer test to try and determine the driver’s blood alcohol content. The implied consent law in Florida provides that when a person agrees to accept the privileges of driving, he/she also agrees to submit to a breathalyzer test after a valid arrest for DUI while driving a motor vehicle. This is what implied consent means. Now, a person can still refuse to blow in the breathalyzer and cannot be forced to submit to a breathalyzer test, however there are certain penalties that come with the breathalyzer refusal because of the implied consent law. One penalty is an increased license suspension if the police officers complied with the DUI laws.
Another penalty is that during the DUI trial, the state can try to use the refusal against the defendant. The state will present evidence that the driver was asked to submit to the breathalyzer test and refused to do so. The state will be permitted to argue that the defendant refused the breathalyzer test because he/she was drunk and knew he/she would fail it. Of course, there are a number of reasons why a person would refuse to submit to a breath test and the criminal defense lawyer has a right to argue them, but the state can make their argument as well.
In this bicycle DUI case, the state was not allowed to argue the issue surrounding the defendant’s refusal of the breathalyzer test. The implied consent law applies to motor vehicles not bicycles. As a result and because there are many reasons why a person might refuse a breathalyzer test unrelated to consciousness of guilt, the state could not argue the defendant refused the breathalyzer test because he was drunk and knew he would fail.