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Impaired driving (DWI/DUI) is defined in Minnesota to include operating a snowmobile while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol;
  • Under the influence of a controlled substance;
  • Under the influence of an intoxicating substance which you knew or had reason to know had the capacity to cause impairment;
  • Under the influence of any combination of the above;
  • With an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, measured within two hours; or
  • While your body contains any amount of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance or its metabolite (except marijuana or THC)

It is also illegal for a person under age 21 to operate a snowmobile while consuming alcohol, or after having consumed alcohol while any physical evidence is present in their body. This is also known as the not-a-drop rule.

The consequences for DWI involving a snowmobile are identical to those for DWI involving a car. This can include jail time, probation, fines, loss of your drivers license, and in some cases, forfeiture of the snowmobile. Factors which can make a charge more severe include refusing to take a test, having an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more, and having one or more prior impaired driving incidents.

Additionally, most DWIs (whether a car, snowmobile, or other vehicle) result in a one-year prohibition on operating a snowmobile. Before Aug. 1, 2018, a motorist with a revoked license due to a DWI conviction could still legally operate a snowmobile, ATV, or boat. However, the death of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., caused by an intoxicated snowmobiler in February of 2018, inspired a change in law. Little Alan’s Law, effective Aug. 1, 2018, closed that loophole in Minnesota law that allowed drivers convicted of a DWI to drive other motor vehicles. Under current law, any DWI can result in a prohibition on operating recreational vehicles, including snowmobiles.
Impaired driving is serious and carries significant consequences, regardless of the vehicle involved. A DWI involving a car can affect your ability to snowmobile, and a DWI involving a snowmobile can affect your ability to drive.

If you or a friend has been arrested for a DWI or DUI, our experienced defense attorneys can help you understand the complicated DWI laws and secure the best possible outcome. Contact F. Clayton Tyler for straight talk and honest answers.