Motorcycle DUIs

When developing a legal defense to an OVI charged against a driver of a motorcycle, many of the issues are the same as they would be for a driver of an automobile.  One needs to evaluate the reason for the traffic stop, whether the police had a reasonable suspicion of impairement based on articulable facts to expand the scope and length of the detention for the traffic stop to investigate an OVI, whether the police had probable cause to arrest for an OVI, and the multitude of issues that surround breath or urine alcohol tests.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed "clues" of impairment specifically related to motorcycles.  NHTSA has grouped these into what it considers excellent clues and good clues.

According to NHTSA, excellent clues include:

  • Drifting during turn or curve
  • Trouble with dismount
  • Trouble with balance at a stop
  • Turning problems (e.g., unsteady, sudden corrections, late braking, improper lean angle)
  • Inattentive to surroundings
  • Inappropriate or unusual behavior (e.g., carrying or dropping object, urinating at roadside, disorderly conduct, etc.)
  • Weaving

Good Clues include:

  • Erratic movements while going straight
  • Operating without lights at night
  • Recklessness
  • Following too closely
  • Running stop light or sign
  • Evasion
  • Traveling wrong way

An experienced OVI defense attorney will evaluate the police reports, video and witness statements to identify both what the police claim they did observe as well as what they did not observe.  A thorough analysis of the traffic stop and charges can often lead to a strong legal defense.