This New Minnesota DWI Law Might Surprise You

A new DWI law in Minnesota makes it a crime to operate an ATV or snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The recent death of an 8-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver on a snowmobile prompted Minnesota lawmakers to impose the steeper penalties for impaired ATV and snowmobile drivers.

Drunk Driving Laws Now Include Recreational Vehicles

Minnesota lawmakers have passed legislation that makes drunk driving on ATVs and snowmobiles an offense. Currently, a loophole in the law allows impaired drivers or those with a prior DWI conviction to operate an ATV or snowmobile. New DWI laws will allow convictions for drunk driving whether drivers are on roads and highways, water, snow, or open trails. The legislation will also prevent anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense from operating a car, ATV or snowmobile. Driving privileges for an ATV or snowmobile will be revoked for one year.

New DWI laws were prompted by the death of a young boy killed in a snowmobile crash. The boy was hit by a drunk driver on a snowmobile while ice fishing with his parents on a Chisago County lake in January. The 45-year-old snowmobile driver was inebriated and traveling at a high rate of speed when he slammed into the 8-year-old boy and his dad. The boy was rushed to a hospital in St. Paul in critical condition, where he died five days later from severe head trauma. An investigation into the snowmobile driver’s background showed that he had a history of drunk driving, and his driver’s license had previously been revoked three times for alcohol-related incidents. He was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal vehicular operation.

The new DWI law has the full support of Minnesota law enforcement, as well as the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association and The Department of Natural Resources. They point out that outdoor recreational vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles are heavy machines capable of traveling at dangerously fast speeds and causing serious injuries and fatalities. In the event of a crash, they pose a high risk of serious injuries to accident victims including fractures and broken bones, permanent disfigurement, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Accident statistics show that a large percentage of ATV and snowmobile crashes involve drunk drivers who are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, reckless driving, and negligent behavior.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.