Recently, a bill passed the Minnesota Senate with a vote of 59 to 7 that expands DWI laws for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. Here are the main areas which will be affected:
- Operation of recreational vehicles after a DWI conviction will be prohibited.
- The zero-tolerance law for drinking and driving under the age of 21 will be expanded to all vehicles, including recreational vehicles.
- The driver’s license revocation will now extend to DWI offenses committed with recreational vehicles.
The new law was drafted after a drunk driver on a snowmobile caused the death of an 8-year-old boy on Chicago Lake. The driver had previous DWI motor vehicle convictions, but was able to operate the snowmobile based on a loophole in the law.
Another New DWI Law Punishes Huffing
The chemical found in keyboard cleaner can be used to create a high. Last year a Wisconsin man used it before causing a crash that killed three Minnesota men.
Because of this, another vote held on the same day will put a new bill regarding huffing into law. Impairment due to huffing of compressed air will soon be punishable under DWI laws.
Current DWI Laws in Minnesota
Under current laws, you can already get charged with a DWI for operating several types of vehicles that do not fit the typical definition of an automobile.
For example, you can be charged for riding a lawnmower while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, including prescription drugs. The law also prohibits impaired use of motorboats, off-road motorcycles, and off-road vehicles.
In fact, you can be charged with a crime for being in the physical control of any motor vehicle when your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher.
A DWI conviction carries both criminal and civil penalties. If convicted, you could face the following penalties:
- Loss of your driver’s license
- Vehicle seizure
- Mandatory counseling
- Community service hours
- Installation of an ignition interlock system on your vehicle
- Increased insurance rates
- Steep fines
- Possible jail time
These are serious consequences you can’t afford to ignore. The good news is that a skilled Minnesota DWI attorney will have many strategies to help you fight your charges.
Defense Strategies You Can Use to Fight Minnesota DWI Charges
These are the types of defenses that may apply to your case:
Improper stop by police
The police pulled you over without reasonable cause.
Your rights weren’t read to you
The police are required to recite your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest.
Inaccurate field test
You may have a physical ailment that prevents you from successfully completing a field test. A police officer may have misinterpreted physical symptoms as proof of impairment.
Inaccurate breathalyzer test
There are many ways to contest breathalyzer results. The machine must be properly calibrated and used for accurate results. Also, foreign substances like mouthwash or hairspray can produce false positive results.
Improper storage of blood test results
If the police mishandled your blood test results, your case could be dismissed.
Just because you tested above the 0.08 limit at the time of arrest doesn’t mean a conviction is guaranteed. A knowledgeable DWI attorney can advise you on the best possible defense for your charges. Call today for a free case review.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).