Law School Case Brief
State v. Tehan - 190 N.J. Super. 348, 463 A.2d 403 (Super. Ct. 1982)
The penalty under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:4-50, insofar as it involves a revocation of a license, does not apply to offenses under that section involving the operation of bicycles. The penalties concerning fines, community service, and incarceration do apply to bicycle cases, since there is nothing in their nature which would make them inapplicable.
Defendant Michael Tehan became intoxicated after finishing work. Tehan left work on his bicycle and kicked over some traffic cones as he exited the driveway. Tehan was called back by police stationed at the exit, and Tehan kicked over another cone on his way back. Tehan then scuffled with police. Tehan was arrested for simple assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. The assault charge was dropped and Tehan pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in New Jersey state court. The trial court later found Tehan guilty of driving under the influence, fined him $ 250.00, and revoked his driving privilege for nine months. Tehan sought review of the driving under the influence conviction on the ground that the drunk driving statutes did not apply to bicyclists.
Did the penalty under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:4-50, as it involves the revocation of a license, apply in the case at bar?
The appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court's judgment. The court held that the operator of a bicycle was under an obligation to stay off the roads when intoxicated, and as such Tehan was properly convicted of driving under the influence. However, the court ruled, the penalty under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:4-50, insofar as it involved the revocation of a driver's license, did not apply to the offense of drunken operation of a bicycle, and thus Tehan's license could not be revoked.
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