On behalf of Chris Van Wagner of Christopher T. Van Wagner S.C. Criminal Defense on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The current winter season may be one of the longer ones Wisconsin’s seen in recent years. While many might be staying warm indoors, others may be keen to make the most out of the remaining weather. You may be one of many people hoping to enjoy treading the trails on a snowmobile before the season comes to an end.

As you head off-road for some fun, it is important not to forgo obeying traffic laws. Although you might be isolated from regular traffic, a snowmobile is still legally considered a vehicle, and operating it while intoxicated could land you a DUI.

Understanding the potential consequences

In Wisconsin, a first-time DUI charge could lead to spending up to nine months in jail and paying up to $300 in fines. The penalties worsen for repeat offenders, but are especially harsh for DUIs that cause “great bodily harm” or homicide.

Drunk driving a snowmobile and causing serious injuries to someone else could leave you with up to $25,000 in fines and up to two years of jail time. Causing homicide could result in up to $100,000 in fines and more than five years in jail.

Do not let a DUI disrupt your winter fun

While having a drink or two may seem innocent in the spirit of having fun in the snow, consider substituting your beverage with a hot chocolate or warm tea. You may even want to postpone drinking any alcohol until the end of the day when you are certain that you are done snowmobiling.

No matter how confident you may feel about avoiding the cops, it is not worth risking the possibility losing your driving privileges and your freedom.