Drivers in Minnesota are likely aware that state law prohibits driving a car while impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, the laws are more expansive when it comes to the type of vehicle that may be involved in a drunk driving case. The general definition of a motor vehicle in the DWI statute discusses any vehicle that is self-propelled, among other terms. The DWI laws include provisions that apply to motorboats, ATVs and snowmobiles.
From time-to-time prosecutors will pursue charges against a person who allegedly was found driving some other form of machine than what we would traditionally describe as a motor vehicle. Most recently, a man is facing DWI charges related to what appears to be a child's toy.
Police in Austin, Minnesota, claim that an officer noticed a man on a battery operated go-kart on an Austin street shortly after midnight Sunday. Police say that although the officer noticed to go-kart, he nearly struck the battery operated machine. The officer stopped and claims that a 25-year-old man associated with the Razor Go-Kart appeared to be under the influence.
Police arrested the man on suspicion of DWI and other charges. In fact, law enforcement accuses the man of unlawfully driving the battery operated child's toy after revocation of his driving privileges.
When a person is accused of DWI in Minnesota, the criminal charges are not necessarily the only legal issues a person should consider. Minnesota law allows the state to administratively revoke a person's privilege to drive in association with a DWI arrest. Challenging a DWI license revocation is handled separately from the criminal case. A person accused of DWI has a limited time to file the proper paperwork to raise a challenge to the license revocation.
Similarly, in cases involving allegations of a second-degree or first-degree DWI offense, the state may seize the vehicle involved in an alleged offense. A person may challenge the forfeiture, but it is up to the person (or owner of the vehicle) to file and serve the necessary papers to challenge the forfeiture. The rules are complex, and a DWI defense lawyer may assist in the criminal and associated cases.
In the recent DWI arrest in Austin, law enforcement seized the go-kart under Minnesota's vehicle forfeiture laws.
Source: KTTC, "Go-cart driver arrested in Austin for DWI," Noel Sederstrom, April 14, 2014