Warm Weather in Minnesota Comes with Motorized Toys

All of your neighbors will undoubtedly praise the arrival of the long-awaited warm weather we’re finally experiencing. Per usual, it was a long winter. The abundance of cool motorized vehicles, like an ATV, we now see on Minnesota roads, trails, and waterways feels like a celebration.

With all the summertime vehicles stepping into the sunshine, it’s critical to operate them safely. Many don’t know that DWI laws apply to all sorts of motorized vehicles in Minnesota, which also come with serious consequences.

What Kinds of Vehicles Do DUI Laws Impact?

It’s important to know that owners and operators of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are subject to the DWI laws of Minnesota. The state defines off-highway vehicles as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs), and off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Accidents happen while operating these vehicles, and those accidents usually mean officials will look into potential causes surrounding the incidents. 

When an ATV Accident Leads to Investigation

A recent ATV accident in Winona, Minnesota, resulted in a person’s injuries and subsequent drunken driving charges for the man who was reportedly driving the OHV. What likely felt like fun and games at a gravel road campground quickly became a serious life event for those involved. 

Upon arriving at the scene of an ATV accident, law enforcement looks for signs of potential driver impairment, just as they would with any highway accident scene. Common reasons police will cite as support to build a DWI case are as follows:

  • Slurred speech
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Open containers in sight

Implied consent laws allow an officer to administer a breath test when there are valid reasons to suspect impaired driving. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in cases involving ATVs and other OHVs is the same as traditional highway vehicles: 0.08. 

Is a DUI While Driving an ATV Serious?

Simply put, yes. If you’re under investigation for driving while impaired – no matter the motorized vehicle – you should take the situation and its impact on your future seriously. 

Just as you can lose your driver’s license following a DWI conviction, operators of OHVs can lose the privilege to drive their vehicles, even on their own private property. 

Minnesota laws regarding impaired driving don’t only cover the use of public roadways, by the way. Someone can face legal consequences for drunk driving on private property, where it might be more likely someone would be driving a vehicle such as an ATV. 

What Happens if I’m Accused of ATV-Related DWI?

Suspects in any type of DUI case should volunteer as little information as possible to law enforcement until they have the guidance of a criminal defense attorney. Keep any answers to questions short, and never assume an officer is there to help you. 

A conviction of DWI while driving an ATV can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the specific case and the suspect’s history. No matter what vehicle you were driving, always consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer when accused of driving under the influence.

Connect with White & Associates so our team can help protect your future, driving privileges, bank account and reputation.

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