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What Are the Penalties for DUI on an ATV or While Off-Roading?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Believe it or not, you don't have to be driving a car to get a DUI. In most, if not all states, driving an ATV, or other off road vehicle, on any road while intoxicated, can get you a DUI charge. In fact, depending on state laws, you don't even need to be on a road to get a DUI. For example, in California, state law for DUI allows officers to arrest people on private property.

Some states, like Washington, have separate charges that are filed when a DUI occurs while off-roading. The Washington statute distinguishes between a DUI on private property while off-roading, and a DUI on a public roadway, with the former having much less severe penalties.

Penalties for a DUI on an ATV or Off-Road Vehicle

Penalties for driving under the influence while off-roading vary from state to state, but most states treat it the same as a standard DUI. In addition to heavy fines, penalties for a DUI can include DUI school, the loss of your license, and placement of an ignition interlock device. If you have received multiple convictions, penalties can be much more severe and can even include jail time.

Does the Type of Vehicle Matter?

Generally, the type of vehicle a person is driving will not matter when it comes to getting a DUI on a public roadway, or somewhere that is accessible to the public. In more rural states where ATVs and other off-road vehicles are common, like Alaska, these types of arrests happen more frequently. Basically, if the vehicle has a motor, or even just wheels, you can probably get cited for some form of DUI.

Recently, in California, hoverboarding under the influence was made illegal on public sidewalks. Although the penalties for hoverboarding under the influence are not nearly as severe as those for driving a vehicle under the influence, other types of vehicles, such as bicycles, and even skateboards, can face severe penalties for riding on roadways or sidewalks while under the influence.

Private Property Considerations

When an arrest for DUI happens on private property, there are generally some issues regarding whether the officer had a lawful right to be on the property. In cases involving parking lots, generally officers are viewed as rightfully on the property. However, in cases involving off-roading on large tracts of private land, officers may not be as justified in making an arrest. But if there is an accident or injury, an arrest could follow even if everything occurred on private property that is inaccessible to the public.

If you have been charged with a DUI while riding an ATV, you could face serious penalties. To ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome possible, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.

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