Until recently, Minnesota law had a loophole that allowed those who had their licenses revoked for drunk-driving to still operate some motorized vehicles, such as ATVs and snowmobiles. Lawmakers have closed the loophole, but their action comes too late for the family of one eight-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk snow mobile operator.
Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. and his father were both struck by Eric Joseph Coleman – a 45-year-old Minnesota resident – when they were ice fishing with their family. The young boy’s father survived the incident, but Allen passed away in the hospital several days later.
Eric Coleman had a history of drinking and driving. This was not the first time his license was revoked. Although he was not allowed to get behind the wheel of an automobile, Minnesota law did not prevent him from driving an ATV or snowmobile, as long as he was sober. Unfortunately, just like Mr. Coleman showed repeated poor judgement when getting behind the wheel, he used poor judgement when he operated his snowmobile that day with a BAC more than twice the legal limit.
Legislators voted 126 to zero to close the loophole. The new law not only makes it illegal for those with revoked driving privileges to operate ATVs and snowmobiles; it makes it so that if you receive a DWI while operating one of these vehicles, you will no longer be eligible for the softer penalties that first time offenders previously received if they operated something other than a car.
If you are arrested for driving a boat, ATV, snowmobile or automobile while under the influence, it is even more important that you have a qualified attorney to guide you through the legal process. Although no attorney wants to see another tragedy, everyone has the right to a strong legal defense.
If you have been charged with DWI, you will face harsher punishments than ever before. You do have rights and you can contest your DWI charges. William J. Mauzy is experienced with DWI cases. Depending on the specifics of your case, there are a number of strategies we can employ to fight your charges. Call us at 612-340-9108 for a consultation and case review.
KMSP. (n.d.). Minnesota Senate passes bills tightening state DWI laws. Retrieved from http://www.fox9.com/news/minnesota-senate-passes-bill-to-apply-dwi-laws-to-atv-snowmobiles