Almost everyone in New Jersey knows what a DWI is – but a BWI or bicycling while intoxicated? Well it is true, the offense does exist and last week a Sea Girt police officer arrested a bicyclist for the offense. The cyclist allegedly fell on his bike while stopped at a road crossing and the incident was witnessed by the arresting officer. An ensuing investigation revealed a rather intoxicated bicyclist and resulted in summonses for DWI and an assortment of disorderly persons offenses.
Although I have heard of BWI offenses being issued, I have never had occasion to handle one. Given the high number of drinking and driving cases we handle every year, I would have to assume that the lack of a BWI case reflects the extreme nature associated with a police officer actually filing such a charge. I believe that most police officers have the common sense to refrain from filing such a charge for numerous reasons, including the fact that most individuals are riding their bike under these circumstances to avoid DWI. It seems a little unfair to me to penalize an individual for BWI.