Most people know that OWI means “operating while intoxicated,” but typically, it’s associated with driving a car on a Wisconsin roadway. What most people don’t know is that you can – and people often do – get OWI charges for operating snowmobiles while intoxicated.
With winter right around the corner, here’s what you need to know.
Can You Get an OWI on a Snowmobile in Wisconsin?
When you use a snowmobile on public land anywhere in Wisconsin, you automatically consent to a breath or blood test to measure the amount of alcohol in your system – and if you’re over the legal limit, you can absolutely be charged with OWI.
Snowmobiles are motor vehicles, which means you can be subject to the same laws (and the same penalties) you’d face if you were operating a boat, car or truck. OWIs on snowmobiles are cumulative, too, so just like you can get a second or third OWI and face harsher penalties in a car, you can get a second or third (or subsequent) OWI on a snowmobile with harsher penalties.
What if Police Stop You and Ask You to Take a Breath Test on a Snowmobile?
For most people, the best course of action to take if the police stop you is to cooperate. Submit to the test the police officer wants you to take. If you refuse to take a breath test, you are violating Wisconsin’s implied consent law – and that’s a totally separate crime.
Can You Get an OWI on Your Snowmobile if You’re on Private Land?
Wisconsin’s snowmobile OWI laws apply to public land. If you’re on private land, police can still require you to submit to chemical testing if they’ve observed you committing another criminal offense – so just because you’re on private land doesn’t mean you’re automatically off the hook for drinking and snowmobiling.
Did You Get Charged With OWI on a Snowmobile?
If you were charged with OWI on a snowmobile, Gamino Law Offices may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 right away – we’ll be happy to provide you with a free OWI consultation.