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Understanding Snowmobiling OWI Laws In WI

Snowmobiling OWI Laws In WI: What You Need To Know

Did you know that Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws apply to off-road and recreational vehicles as well as traditional cars, trucks, and motorcycles? Yes, you can get pulled over and charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) while driving your boat, ATV, or snowmobile in WI.

With winter in full swing here, we thought it would be a good time to go over snowmobiling OWI laws in WI.

Snowmobiling OWI Laws In WI Are Far-Reaching

Wisconsin has a stringent set of snowmobile laws, which include a prohibition against operating the machines while intoxicated. Snowmobiling laws are enforced by the DNR and dictate:

  • It is illegal to operate a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on public property such as trails, routes, lakes/rivers or corridors. The same driving laws that apply to public roadways apply to snowmobile operation on public lands.
  • Wisconsin’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%.
  • By using public lands, you automatically provide consent to provide a breath or blood sample if an officer has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated.

Things are a little different if you are operating the snowmobile on private property. In that case, you do not have to submit to a breathalyzer or a blood test unless another criminal offense has occurred.

In either situation, snowmobile OWI infractions do not affect your driver’s license or show up on your driving record.

Fines And Penalties

Snowmobiling OWIs do come with their own set of fines and penalties. Fines can range from $125.00 to $2,000 depending on the circumstances and if you have had any prior infractions. You can also have your privilege to operate a snowmobile revoked if you are found to be exceedingly negligent or reckless.

In recent years, there has been a push to enact more restrictive snowmobiling OWI laws in WI, changing the regulations to be more like automobile OWI laws and pushing for cross-jurisdiction tracking of OWI offenses so OWIs for snowmobiling, boating, or ATVs would show up on your driver’s license. So far, none of these bills have passed

Fight OWI Charges With Help From Our Madison Criminal Defense Attorneys

Despite increased awareness and enforcement, or perhaps because of it, accidents and arrests related to snowmobiling while intoxicated remain high. That doesn’t mean the arrest is justified, however. If you have been charged with OWI while snowmobiling, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices for a free consultation. Contact our criminal defense attorneys at 608-256-8356 or request a consultation online to discuss your situation.