All-terrain-vehicles, or ATVs, as they're often called, are both useful and fun. A lot of businesses, like landscaping companies, use ATVs all the time, and there are plenty of people throughout the state of Washington that enjoy the outdoors from the back of one. Many of the state's parks have excellent trails specifically made for ATVs, and lots of us take advantage of them.
However, before you drive your ATV on Washington's public roads or highways, you need to have a driver's license from the Department of Licensing (DOL). You also need to keep it valid if you want to drive your ATV. While this is not a big deal, in and of itself, it raises complications if you get pulled over and charged for driving under the influence (DUI), because the same license is used to drive both your car and your ATV. A DUI conviction while driving either vehicle can affect your ability to drive your other one.
If you get arrested for drinking and driving while behind the wheel of your normal car, you'll be facing the possibility of a license suspension, as well as criminal penalties. This license suspension, however, is not just limited to your ability to drive your normal car – it impacts your ability to drive any vehicle. Because your driver's license is also used for driving your ATV, a suspension will also mean that you can't drive your ATV on a public roadway, even though the DUI happened while you were in your car.
If you do drive your ATV on a public roadway while your driver's license is suspended from a DUI, you could be pulled over and charged for driving with a suspended license in the second degree, which is a serious charge that can result in up to a year in jail, and a $5,000 fine.
The same is true if your DUI came while you were driving your ATV: Your driver's license will be suspended if you get convicted for your ATV DUI, and this will impact your ability to drive your regular car as well. Driving your regular car while your license has been suspended for an ATV DUI can lead to another suspended license in the second degree charge, with its serious ramifications.
However, these legal issues aren't a factor if you're not driving on a public roadway. Police can't arrest you for driving your ATV if you're on private property, no matter how drunk or under the influence they might think you are.
If you've been charged for driving under the influence in Washington state, regardless of what vehicle you were driving at the time, you need a qualified DUI defense specialist. Kevin Trombold has been defending DUI cases in the Seattle area for years, and knows all the ins and outs of the trade. Call his law office at 206-971-0067 to start planning your defense. Your right to drive any of your vehicles is at stake.