The first snow has started to fall and that has many Minnesotans rushing for their snowmobiles. But before you jump on the back of your sled and get ready for a thrilling afternoon out in the snow, remember to do so responsibly. It is illegal to snowmobile while intoxicated in Minnesota.
Operating a snowmobile while under the influence is covered under Minnesota Statute 84.91. As is the case with a more traditional DWI, you are considered to be snowmobiling while intoxicated (SWI) if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08 or above. Refusing to take a breath, blood or urine test is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by the loss of your snowmobiling privileges or even your driver's license for one year – just as with DWI. The violation will also be noted on your driving record.
If you are arrested for SWI, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or even a felony, depending on your BAC at the time of the arrest, your arrest record and other extenuating circumstances.
Misdemeanor convictions may include a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. You could also lose your snowmobile privileges for one year.
You will be charged with a gross misdemeanor if you have a previous SWI or DWI offense or if you BAC is over .20. You can also be charged with a gross misdemeanor if you have a passenger under the age of 16 on your sled at the time of the offense. A gross misdemeanor conviction could carry fines of up to $3,000 and up to one year in jail. You may also be subject to long-term alcohol monitoring programs and even lose your license, your snowmobile, or have your plates impounded.
If you have been convicted of three or more DWIs in the last 10 years or one felony DWI, you could face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to $14,000.
If you are facing charges related to SWI, you need experienced legal counsel. Contact Attorney Eric J. Olson for vigorous defense and unrivaled results.