DWI: it’s always been a serious offense. In the state of Minnesota, it now holds more serious consequences than before. According to “Little Alan’s Law,” which went into effect on August 1, 2018, drivers who receive a DWI charge in the state of Minnesota will now face additional charges no matter what type of vehicle they were driving during the event.
The Additional Statutes
According to Little Alan’s Law, anyone caught driving under the influence will no longer face repercussions only on the vehicle they were driving at the time. Under the previous law, drivers who were caught driving intoxicated would have their license suspended for 90 days for a first offense, or 1 year for a first offense for a BAC of over .16–but they could still operate snowmobiles, ATVs, and boats. Under the new law, even first-time DWI offenders will:
- Face license suspension for 90 days (for a first offense with BAC of .08-.15) or license suspension for 1 year and loss of license plates (for a first offense with a BAC of .16 or higher).
- Lose the right to operate ATVs and snowmobiles for the same length of time that their license is suspended
- Lose the right to operate boats for 90 days in the period from May 1-October 31. If license suspension occurs outside these dates, the suspension will begin on the first day of May. If boating season is over before the license suspension ends, boating privilege suspension will resume the next year on May 1.
- If drivers refuse to take a blood alcohol test, they will lose boating privileges for a full year–a move that is intended to help encourage first-time offenders to submit to testing.
According to Little Alan’s Law, drivers who have multiple DWI offenses will face the same consequences with regards to suspension of snowmobile operation, boat operation, and ATV operation that they face to driver’s license suspension. Previously, the ability to operate these vehicles was not impacted by license suspension after a DWI.
Little Alan’s Law also offers a subtle, but important, change to the laws regarding teenage DWI. Teens should not have even a drop of alcohol before operating a snowmobile, ATV, or boat–or any other vehicle. In addition to the restrictions already imposed by Little Alan’s Law and by Minnesota DWI law, teens who operate any motor vehicle, including off-road vehicles, while intoxicated can face license suspension and a suspension of boating, snowmobile, and ATV privileges following a DWI incident. The law covers any vehicle that can be operated on natural terrain, without the need for a road. This change in the law does not impact motorcycles or ATVs, which were already covered by Minnesota teen DWI laws.
Little Alan’s Law came about because of the death of a boy named Alan, who was struck by a snowmobile driven by an intoxicated driver and killed. This driver had several previous DWI charges on his license. In fact, his license had been revoked. Unfortunately, he was still legally able to operate a snowmobile at the time of the accident. The law is intended to help protect other children like Alan and prevent future accidents, keeping citizens safer on the streets and off.
If you’ve been accused of driving while intoxicated, it’s important that you take the right steps! In the state of Minnesota, if you’ve been convicted of DWI, you could expect immediate license suspension even for your first offense–and now, you’ll lose your boating, snowmobile, and ATV privileges as well. If you need legal representation, contact us as soon as possible so that we can help you navigate your case.
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