Minnesota’s driving while impaired law essentially defines a motor vehicle as any vehicle that is self-propelled. We have discussed issues surrounding the definition in prior posts on this blog. The definition of a motor vehicle specifically excludes vehicles moved solely by human power. For instance, a bicycle generally is propelled by the bicycle rider, and therefore a bike is not considered a motor vehicle for the purposes of the DWI laws.
But, many other conveyances may fall within the scope of the DWI laws. A moped obviously has some kind of motor attached, although many look very similar to bicycles. An incoming freshman at the University of Minnesota was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after campus police stopped the young man over the weekend.
Details about the traffic stop have not been revealed in public media reports. In fact, very few details about the incident have made the news, other than a report that the 18-year-old college freshman is being accused of fourth-degree DWI.
Minnesota’s laws governing underage drinking and DWI may come into play when a person is under the age of 21. Most people may be aware that the legal limit for alcohol in Minnesota is set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. That level of alcohol may lead to DWI charges for a person regardless of the age of the driver.
But, it is unlawful to drink under the age of 21. Because of the drinking age, lower alcohol levels may also lead to charges for a person under the age of 21. A teen can be accused of underage drinking and driving with just about any alcohol reading. The law describes any physical evidence of alcohol consumption as the threshold level for underage drivers.
Authorities say that the arrested U of M freshman is a hockey player—the hockey team says that the 18-year-old has been suspended, pending an athletic department investigation–the actual basis of the suspension is not clear. Coach Don Lucia reportedly says that the indefinite suspension is due to an alleged violation of team rules.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Gophers hockey player Guertler suspended,” Jason Gonzalez, Sept. 2, 2013