As snow continues to fall in New England, many people may be taking advantage of the weather by participating in their favorite winter activities as much as possible. You may be one of many who might be making time to break out your snowmobile before spring arrives.
While you may be eager to go off-road, remember that your driving privileges are still worth protecting. Even through snowmobiles are considered off-road vehicles, the state's drunk driving laws still apply. Operating your snowmobile while intoxicated could land you a DUI charge, and causing accidental injuries or death as a result could bring about heavy penalties.
In Maine, causing death by drunk driving is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, but is automatically regarded as manslaughter. A death-related DUI could land you in prison for up to 40 years as well as invoke heavy fines of up to $50,000. New Hampshire laws regard DUI-related deaths as negligent homicide, potentially invoking up to seven years in prison as well as steep fines.
Under both New Hampshire and Maine laws, a death-related DUI will also result in the loss of your driver's license for several years.
If you are heading out for a day of treading the snow, keep your driving privileges in mind. Consider holding off any alcoholic beverages until the end of the day when you know you will no longer be heading out on your sled. You might even want to order hot chocolate or tea instead to stay warm.
Even if you have many years of experience in operating snowmobiles, anyone can make a poor judgment call and cause an accident. Protect your driving record and your freedom as much as possible this winter.