DWI laws have been in place for years. However, in August, Minnesota made a few changes to state mandates. Modifications were deemed necessary after the death of an eight-year-old boy as a result of being hit by a snowmobile. The man operating the snowmobile had his driver’s license revoked due to the number of DWI offenses he had. What does the new law mean?
1. A DWI in a Recreational Vehicle Is Equal to a DWI in a Motor Vehicle
Prior to the new law, a person received a ticket for operating a recreational vehicle, (ATV, motorboat or snowmobile) while impaired or intoxicated. The infraction, however, was not carried over to the person’s driver’s license. Since the beginning of August, when the new law took effect, any DWI offense on a recreational vehicle may have the same consequences as a DWI in a motor vehicle, including the following:
- Refusing a breath test if caught operating a recreational vehicle impaired may result in a one-year suspension of the offender’s driver’s license
- Recreational vehicle DWI offenders may be subject to substance use assessments, plate revocation and conditional release
2. Operation of Recreational Vehicles Is Prohibited If a License Is Revoked Due to a DWI
Until the new law, people who had their license revoked for DWI infractions in a motor vehicle could still operate recreational vehicles. The new law now makes the operation of any recreational vehicle with a revoked license illegal.
Why the Change?
Drinking and driving is a serious problem, not just here in Minnesota, but across the country. The new laws target people who don’t believe operating recreational vehicles while impaired is a big deal. The new consequences send a clear message that drinking and driving any motorized vehicle is an actionable offense. These changes make DWI on a recreational vehicle just as strict as those in a motor vehicle. It also makes clear the implication that losing a license means losing the right to drive anything with a motor.