Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
January 10, 2005
Snowmobile DUI Now a Criminal Offense
CONCORD, N.H. -- Operating a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a criminal offense under a new law that went into effect in January of this year. The law increased the severity of the charge from a violation to a Class B misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense. Those convicted will be liable for paying fines up to $1,200 and will lose their privilege to operate a snowmobile for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 180 days for the first offense. Non-residents are also likely to lose their riding privileges at home because of agreements New Hampshire has set up with many other states.
"Snowmobiles and alcohol are a deadly combination. This is not just about facing big fines and losing your chance to ride, it's about possibly losing your life," said Maj. Tim Acerno, coordinator of New Hampshire Fish and Game's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Program. "Snowmobiling can be a fun and safe family activity -- nobody should have to share the trail with irresponsible riders."
Fish and Game Conservation Officers will be out in force this winter, conducting sobriety checkpoints as well as DUI enforcement patrols on trails throughout the state. These officers are trained in the detection of impaired operators and are authorized to stop riders for just about any reason -- from speeding to equipment malfunction. New Hampshire has conducted sobriety checkpoints on its trails since 1997.
The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association supports Fish and Game's efforts to reduce alcohol-related snowmobile accidents. The statewide organization, with more than 100 member clubs, maintains a zero-tolerance policy for those who operate snowmobiles while under the influence of alcohol.
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