Law School Case Brief
State v. Howard - 510 So. 2d 612 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1987)
Under state law, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle. Fla. Stat. ch. 316.003(2) (1985). Therefore, Fla. Stat. ch. 316.193 (1985), which applies to a person operating or controlling any vehicle, is applicable to a person operating a bicycle while under the influence.
Defendant Ronald Howard was was charged with driving while under the influence, pursuant to section 316.193, Florida Statutes (1985), for riding a bicycle while he was allegedly intoxicated. At trial in Florida state court, Howard filed a motion to dismiss the charge, contending that section 316.193 did not apply to bicycle riders. The trial court granted Howard's motion to dismiss and certified the question of whether the driving under the influence (DUI) statute applied to bicyclists.
Did Florida's DUI Statute, § 316.193, apply to bicyclists?
The state supreme court answered the certified question in the affirmative and reversed the trial court's order dismissing the charge against Howard. The court held that Fla. Stat. ch. 316.193 (1985) contemplated applicability to all vehicles, and a "vehicle," the court ruled, was every device in, upon, or by which any person or property was or may have transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. Thus, under Fla. Stat. ch. 316.003(2) (1985), a bicycle was defined as a vehicle. The court then concluded that because Fla. Stat. ch. 316.193 applied to all persons driving, or in actual control of any vehicle, and because a bicycle was defined as a vehicle, the DUI statute applied to bicyclists.
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