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Can I Get a DUI While Driving my Snowmobile, Boat or ATV?

Brian Jesse

Driving your boat, snowmobile, or ATV while intoxicated can now result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.

Starting on August 1, 2018 anyone convicted of operating any type of motor vehicle while intoxicated will lose their driver’s license. This new law is applicable to crimes occurring on, or after, August 1, 2018. Previously, first time offenders operating a snowmobile, boat, or ATV under the influence would lose privileges to operate the specific type of vehicle that they were operating at the time of the offense, but they still had the ability to drive their automobile. First time offenders were only prohibited from operating the type of vehicle that they were caught driving under the influence. For example, if someone received a DWI while operating a snowmobile, they would lose their ability to operate snowmobiles for a certain period of time, but they were still able to drive their car and operate a boat/ATV.

This change in the law will bring with it an increased number of implied consent petitions, because the process for challenging the suspension/revocation of your driver’s license will now be the same for any type of DWI (boating, snowmobiling, driving a car, etc.). You need to file a petition for judicial review of the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license within 60 days of receiving the notice of suspension/revocation. If you do not file the challenge within 60 days, you forever lose the ability to petition the court to review the suspension/revocation of your driver’s license. This proceeding is separate from the criminal proceeding, so it is possible to lose your driver’s license without being convicted of the criminal DWI offense. Since the loss of your license is separate from the criminal charges, it is important that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately when you receive the notice of suspension/revocation.

More frequent injuries and deaths from snowmobile, boating, and ATV accidents pressured lawmakers to change the DWI laws. The legislature is creating harsher penalties to deter people from operating any type of motor vehicles while under the influence. Losing your driver’s license adds to the risks of driving your snowmobile, ATV, or boat under the influence. This increased punishment in the DWI law comes at the same time as other DWI law changes. Little Alan’s Law also went into effect on August 1, 2018. For more information on Little Alan’s Law read Tonya Hinkemeyer’s article, available here.

At Rinke Noonan we have experienced criminal defense attorneys up-to-date on these revisions and all things criminal defense. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to assist you.

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