In Minnesota, a person can be arrested and charged with DWI without even driving a car. According to state laws, a person can be arrested for DUI if they are operating any motorized vehicle while over the legal BAC limit of .08.
As a result, a person can get a DUI while driving a boat, riding lawnmower, a snowmobile, or any other motorized vehicle.
Snowmobiling is a common winter pastime in Minnesota. The snow falls and people head up to their cabins with family and friends to hit the trails. Unfortunately, sometimes snowmobilers (like other motorists) have too much to drink before riding.
An SWI charge is almost exactly the same as a DWI charge in terms of criminal and civil consequences. A first offense will bring a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail, as well as the loss of your snowmobiling privileges for a year.
Also similar to a DWI offense, an SWI is enhanceable if any aggravating factors (such as a prior DWI charge, or a remarkably high BAC) are present at the time of arrest. If any aggravating factors are present, the offender can face an increased degree of SWI (ranging from gross misdemeanor to felony). These charges bring increased penalties including fines upwards of $14,000, and several years in jail for the highest offenses.
So if you are snowmobiling this winter season, please remember to be mindful of your alcohol intake before hitting the trails.