The weather is slowly but surely starting to get nicer, and that means many motorcyclists will soon be dusting off their bikes for another riding season. The vast majority of motorcyclists understand that a momentarily lapse in judgement while on their motorcycle could lead to injury or death, so most never drink and ride, but every year we help a number of motorcyclists who end up being arrested for DWI after an ill-advised ride. In today’s blog, we want to talk a little bit more about DWIs on motorcycles in Minnesota.
Motorcycle DWI in Minnesota
There is nothing inherently different about getting a DWI on a motorcycle compared to a standard vehicle in Minnesota. A first offense will be considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000, and you’ll also face some driver’s license restrictions and increased insurance premiums. The penalties only increase if aggravating factors are present, like if you have an extremely high BAC or a minor is on the motorcycle with you at the time of your arrest. There’s also the possibility that your motorcycle could be impounded or seized as a result of the crime.
As for how police identify inebriated motorcyclists, they look for some of the same driving characteristics but also keep an eye out for other signs of intoxication. Swerving within a lane, difficulty dismounting and trouble navigating curves can all signal to police that the driver may be intoxicated and would likely warrant enough probable cause to conduct a traffic stop to look for more evidence of intoxication.
However, as is the case with a standard vehicle, it’s important to remember that being seen leaving a bar is not grounds in and of itself to conduct a traffic stop. If you’re leaving a poker run or just hand dinner at a bar, police cannot use that alone as reason for conducting a traffic stop. They may follow you from the bar and see if you commit a traffic violation, but simply leaving a place that serves alcohol is not enough evidence to warrant a traffic stop.
If you’re going to ride your motorcycle, know that it can draw some unwanted attention from police. Motorcycles can be fast and loud, and that can cause police officers to look your way. Don’t make the mistake of drinking alcohol and drawing their attention.
If you or someone you ride with was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated on a motorcycle, make sure you understand what you’re up against. You’ll face stiff insurance increases and license restrictions that can render you unable to ride, so don’t just plead guilty and hope for lenience. Consult with a lawyer, go over your case and see if taking an aggressive defense would be your best option.
At Appelman Law Firm, we specialize in DWI defense and offer free case evaluations so that prospective clients can get the chance to sit down with a lawyer and learn about their options. If you believe we’re the best fit for your case, we’ll get to work right away and help you achieve the best outcome possible. Whether that’s beating the charges or avoiding the worst case scenario through a plea deal, we’ll explore every option and ensure you’re satisfied with the result.
We hope you have a wondering riding season this year, but if you or anyone in your group runs into legal trouble, be it DWI, speeding or another criminal offense, make the call to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm for assistance. We answer our phones 24 hour a day, seven days a week including holidays. (952) 224-2277.