Motorcycling Under the Influence
Motorcycling under the influence cases are prosecuted in the same way as cases involving drivers suspected of DUI / DWI in other vehicles. However, there are certain aspects of a motorcycling under the influence case that require skilled legal representation. A NJ DWI lawyer experienced in DUI / DWI motorcyclist cases has the experience needed to aggressively defend any motorcyclist accused of operating under the influence. Call us at Levow DWI Law to discuss these issues.
Motorcyclists convicted of riding under the influence in New Jersey face the same court punishment meted out to other drunk drivers – jail time, fines, alcohol education classes, probation, and license suspensions. The prosecutor will gather evidence that includes the motorcyclist’s field sobriety tests, chemical test results, and driving patterns before the arrest was made.
Police associate certain driving patterns with motorcycling under the influence. When those patterns are observed, police are trained to believe that there is a 50 percent chance or greater that the motorcyclist is impaired. However, as any good New Jersey DWI / DUI defense lawyer knows, that means there is an equal chance that the motorcyclist is not under the influence.
Drifting between lanes and wobbling during a turn are considered the most prominent signs of an intoxicated motorcyclist. However, the rider may have been distracted or unfamiliar with the terrain, and wobbling during a turn is common for less-experienced riders.
Difficulty dismounting is also considered a sign of intoxication, because it reflects impaired coordination. However, there are many causes that have nothing to do with alcohol intoxication that would give a rider trouble dismounting during a traffic stop, including injury, illness, uneven terrain, or even nervousness.
Trouble balancing when the motorcycle comes to a stop is also considered one of the so-called signs of intoxication in a motorcyclist. Officers watch for shifting from side to side or rocking during a stop. However, there may be several reasons a rider cannot maintain balance, such as unfamiliarity with that particular motorcycle, uneven terrain, etc.
Unsteady turns that prompt the motorcycle’s wheels to wobble are also considered a sign of impairment. However, when the motorcyclist enters a turn, he or she must slow down, which causes instability. At higher speeds, the gyroscopic effects of the motorcycle’s wheels keep it on track so long as the speed is maintained. At lower speeds, the bike is unsteady, so there is a higher probability of wobbling while turning.
Police are also watching for brake lights during a turn instead of prior to the turn as a sign of impairment. Late braking is considered a sign of delayed reflexes that can indicate alcohol intoxication. However, there are many reasons a rider would break during a turn, such as unfamiliarity with the road or inexperience riding.
Many riding behaviors, from not noticing an officer’s flashing lights to failing to accelerate at a green light, can be interpreted as signs of intoxication if that’s what police are looking for. However, every so-called sign of intoxication can be attributed to factors unrelated to alcohol impairment. A New Jersey attorney experienced in defending DUI / DWI cases for motorcyclists will use a defense strategy designed to show weaknesses in the State’s case in a motorcycling under the influence charge and create reasonable doubt in the rider’s guilt.
Please call us at Levow DWI Law, 877-593-1717, to discuss these issues. We offer a free consultation.