Kinney Law, pc

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How to avoid a DUI during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an iconic part of South Dakota summers. Motorcyclists gather together to admire and display their prized possessions. Unfortunately, not all motorcyclists get to ride home after the rally ends.

The event is notoriously known for crashes and DUIs as motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy drinks and ride their bikes home. According to the Argus Leader, there were 19 DUI arrests during the rally in 2018, which was a decrease from years prior.

Hopefully, 2019 sees a further decline as drivers prioritize their safety and ensure they make it home without a DUI charge on their record. But what should drivers know before attending the rally?

Before leaving

While most motorcyclists know not to overdrink, it's easy to have a few beers and not realize you hit the blood alcohol limit (BAC). Your first option is to set up a sober driver before you join the rally. It makes it easy for you and keeps your record clean. If you insist on driving, consider skipping the alcohol altogether. Otherwise, you are at risk of being pulled over.

During the ride

Cops are hyper-aware of drunk drivers, especially during the Sturgis Rally. They know people will drink and drive despite their best judgment. They will pull people over if they have the smallest suspicion that someone is driving while intoxicated. As a driver, you need to pull over if a police officer signals you. Do not try to "outrun" or ditch the officer.

If the cop pulls you over, they may ask you to perform some simple road tests and test your breath for intoxication. If you didn't drink, you should be cleared and let go. If you did drink and hit the BAC, the officer will take you to the station. Unfortunately, South Dakota is an implied consent state, so you can be arrested for refusing a breath test.

After the charges

In South Dakota, many DUI charges lead to convictions. If you are a motorcyclist with a prior DUI, you may receive a misdemeanor and other penalties including jail time, hefty fines and one-year loss of your driver's license. This would affect everything from your weekly rides to transportation to your job.

Don't let the excitement of the rally cloud your judgment. Be smart and watch out for potential hazards on the road. If you do receive DUI charges, do not accept them at first glance. Find an attorney who will help you fight the allegations.

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