Mowing the lawn is one of those activities that most typically don’t really enjoy, but it needs to be done anyway. You might think that having a few drinks while doing it will make the job go a little faster, but you should think twice about drinking and driving your mower. The fact is that if you get intoxicated and drive, even if it is a lawnmower, you put yourself at risk for a DUI arrest and conviction.
So can you get a DWI/DUI for driving a lawnmower while drunk? Absolutely. Taking a glance at Minnesota’s drunk driving statutes, you will note that the law uses the term “motor vehicles” and not more specific terms like “car” or “motorcycle”. This isn’t by coincidence, the law is worded this way to give drunk driving statutes a very broad range in terms of what an officer can arrest you for driving while intoxicated.
In essence, “motor vehicles” cover driving anything with a motor including snowmobiles, dirt bikes, boats, ATVs, and, yes, your riding lawnmower. This means that if you are stopped on suspicion of driving while under the influence in Minnesota, even if you are riding your lawnmower, you can be arrested for it.
Can You Be Arrested on Your Own Property for a DWI?
If you decide to have a few beers while mowing the lawn, it might be fine. Providing you stay well under the legal limit, it shouldn’t impair your judgment or your safety. If you also stay on your property while mowing the lawn and aren’t acting in a disruptive or dangerous way, it is unlikely you will ever have to deal with the police.
In most cases of driving while under the influence on a lawnmower, the intoxicated person was riding on public roads or mowing their way through private yards that were not their own. Once you leave your property, you are at the mercy of law enforcement. This means that while you put your own safety at risk drinking while mowing the lawn, if you aren’t attracting attention to yourself, you will be fine in most cases. However, it is important to note that just because you are on your property, you can still be arrested for a DWI/DUI. It is just more unlikely than if you were swerving your way down Main Street on your riding mower.
Penalties for DWI/DUI on a Riding Lawnmower
The penalties in Minnesota for driving while under the influence on a lawnmower are no different from drunk driving a car. This means if you have multiple DWI/DUIs on your record, doing so on a lawnmower will still add to that count and will not be counted to a separate charge.
First time DWI/DUI charges are rather tame with a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. It is a misdemeanor charge, but can be raised to a gross misdemeanor (a charge that comes with harsher penalties) if your blood alcohol content was above .16 percent or a passenger younger than 16 was in the vehicle. However, while first time offenses are manageable, the punishments for multiple offenses ramp up exponentially providing you accrue them within 10 years of each other.
This means that even if it is your first offense, it is important that you fight any DWI/DUI charge as best you can. If you are in the Minneapolis and were arrested for driving your lawnmower (or any other vehicle) while under the influence, contact us today. No matter what motor vehicle you were caught driving under the influence, the defenses for drunk driving are similar, but you still need a good lawyer. Let the DWI/DUI defense knowledge of Carson Heefner work in your favor today.