Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10:47 a.m.
Ewan Cunningham Lafferty, 26, just wanted to enjoy riding a minibike in a parking lot across the street from a number of Irvine businesses one August 2008 night.
But the cops had another idea.
They put Lafferty in jail for felony DUI and three other alleged crimes: driving without a headlight, a helmet or a license plate.
During a bench trial, Lafftery represented himself and claimed that he couldn't be charged with DUI because a minibike isn't technically a vehicle. But Superior Court Judge James Marion disagreed, convicted Lafferty and sent him to a California prison for 16 months.
Why such a stiff sentence?
According to court records, Lafferty had been also convicted of DUI in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
A California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana gave Lafferty an opportunity to argue against his convictions and punishment. He declined. The appellate justices upheld the merits of the case this week.
A final word of caution: Susan Kang Schroeder with the Orange County District Attorney's office says that people can be arrested even for riding intoxicated on a bicycle in California. Schroeder called it "RUI," or riding under the influence.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly