Defending Motorcyclists Against DUI Charges
For some, riding a motorcycle means experiencing freedom and excitement on the road. A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can jeopardize your privilege to drive your motorcycle. Whether you are facing your first or fourth charges for DUI on a motorcycle, you need the representation of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
The attorney at Andrews Law Office, LLC, has been representing clients throughout the Rapid City area for more than 30 years. Whether you are someone living in the area or were just passing through, Paul J. Andrews is prepared to fight your charges and the penalties that come from a conviction.
What Is At Stake In Your DUI Case
As an attorney serving the Rapid City area, Mr. Andrews is very familiar with the largest motorcycle rally in the world in Sturgis, just northwest of his firm on Interstate 90. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a 10-day event that sees dozens of DUI charges every year. If you are among those charged, he can help.
Depending on the details of your case and number of prior convictions, you may be facing penalties such as:
- First offense: Up to one year in prison, up to $2,000 in fines, a revoked license for 30 days and even a court-ordered consultation for chemical dependency
- Second offense: Up to a year in prison, $2,000 in fines and up to a year of a revoked license
- Third offense: Up to two years in prison, $4,000 in fines and a revoked license for up to one year
- Fourth offense: Up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines and a revoked license for at least two years
- Fifth or more offense: Up to 10 years in prison, $20,000 in fines and a revoked license of at least three years
No matter how difficult your case may seem, attorney Andrews will explore all options when crafting a strong defense to protect your rights and freedom.
A Defense Based On Your Unique Case
There are many ways to defend against DUI charges that may apply to your case. Common defenses against these charges include:
- Proving a police error, such as not giving you a chance to contact an attorney
- Faulty testing equipment to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) levels
- Lack of probable cause to conduct a traffic stop or make the resulting arrest
- Inaccurate or invalid field sobriety tests
- Lack of evidence
At his firm, Mr. Andrews takes the time to review all the details in his clients’ cases and scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence to find any opportunity to overcome the charges against them. If beating the charges does not seem possible, then he explores opportunities to reduce the charges and sentencing in his pursuit of representing his clients’ best interests.
Common Questions About Motorcycle DUI Charges
What happens when I am suspected of driving under the influence on my motorcycle?
To stop you, a police officer has to have reasonable suspicion that you are operating your motorcycle while impaired – but almost any reason they can articulate, including allegations of reckless driving, is enough to justify a traffic stop.
Once that happens, you can expect an officer who suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to ask you probing questions as they try to gather more information. The officer may also ask you to participate in roadside sobriety testing. These tests, which include the “walk and turn” and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” tests, are not required. They are extremely unscientific and unreliable, so even sober drivers can easily fail them.
The officer may also ask you to take a chemical test, such as one involving a Breathalyzer-type device, to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). You are free to decline chemical testing right until an officer puts you under arrest for suspicion of drunk driving. Once that happens, South Dakota’s implied consent rule kicks in. This means that you agreed to participate in chemical testing in exchange for the privilege of having a motorcycle license.
At that point, declining to participate in chemical testing will expose you to serious secondary penalties, including an automatic license suspension (or revocation, depending on the circumstances). Reinstating your license can prove difficult, even if you are not ultimately convicted of drunk driving, especially without the help of a Rapid City motorcycle DUI lawyer.
What’s the difference between driving high versus driving drunk?
The threshold for a South Dakota BAC level to make you legally impaired is .08% (although you can be charged at lower amounts in certain circumstances). There is no specific amount of drugs that have to be in your system for you to be charged if the officer thinks they can show that you are impaired.
Should I plead guilty to DUI without talking to a drunk driving attorney in Rapid City?
No one accused of drunk driving should ever plead guilty without fully exploring all their defense options with the help of an experienced lawyer.