For those in Minnesota who live in the city or suburbs, it can be easy to forget about the large population of Minnesotans who live on and work farmlands. For many, a tractor isn’t something they merely see at the state fair; it’s an integral part of making their living on a farm.
The point comes to mind due to a local story about a DWI arrest of a Minnesota farmer last week. A Minnesota drunk driving charge can impact a person’s life greatly, and in this case, the DUI suspect now has a revoked license and lost his John Deere Tractor.
According to news reports, Minnesota police arrested the DWI suspect in High Forest Township last Wednesday. His neighbors reportedly contacted authorities, claiming that they believed their neighbor was driving his tractor while intoxicated. They had come into contact with him at their home during a property dispute, but police investigated the situation on the suspect’s property.
The defendant consented to a preliminary breath test and allegedly failed. When he was arrested and taken to the station, he then decided to refuse further tests. In Minnesota, a DWI suspect has a right to refuse a preliminary test, but that right changes once a suspect is arrested and in custody of authorities.
When a person is granted or renews a driver’s license, part of that process is a driver agreeing to the Implied Consent Law. If a person refuses a blood or other test while in custody, that refusal is an offense within itself and goes against the agreement made when someone’s given a Minnesota driver’s license. Retracting that consent after arrest, therefore, results in a suspect’s loss of his or her driver’s license.
His license to drive wasn’t all that the accused farmer lost after his arrest. Reports indicate that the suspect is a repeat DWI offender. If a suspect has more than one DWI on record in the past ten years, it is not uncommon for authorities to take away his vehicle. In the case of the Minnesota farmer, he didn’t lose his car; rather, he lost his tractor.
The loss of a suspect’s car after a DWI arrest can affect the everyday life and livelihood of the suspect’s entire family. As we mentioned earlier in this post, a tractor is an important tool for a farm. It’s difficult not to worry about how this vehicle forfeiture could impact the future of the farm.
We will post an update when there are developments in this case.
Ksdk.com: “Tractor seized after farmer’s DUI,” Kevin Held, Sep. 2, 2011