A favorite New York winter pastime is snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is a fun outdoor sport that lets participants enjoy a winter wonderland. However, snowmobiling can also be a risky sport, made all the more dangerous by individuals who choose to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol, or drugs. In fact, the danger of snowmobiling while intoxicated or under the influence is why New York law prohibits such action. Snowmobiling under the influence in New York is a criminal charge that can lead to penalties, including fines or jail time.

Recently, a snowmobile accident in Lyons, New York, led to the death of one snowmobile driver and the arrest of two others. A Waterloo man was fatally injured when his snowmobile hit a guardrail and ejected him. It is unclear whether he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. One of the arrested drivers was Alan Johnson, a famous DIRTcar champion. Johnson was arrested for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated. Another man, Robert Daldry was arrested on similar charges. This accident is one of 100 fatal snowmobile accidents within the past six years, according to the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

This recent snowmobile accident highlights the potential criminal consequences of snowmobiling while under the influence. In New York, a snowmobile driver can be charged with SWAI: Snowmobiling While Ability Impaired if he or she operates the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This charge is similar to a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). SWAI refers to a criminal charge brought against a driver who operated their snowmobile under the influence of alcohol. In order for a SWAI charge to be brought against you, your blood alcohol content level (BAC) must be between 0.05 and 0.07 percent.

The penalty for a SWAI conviction can include a fine up to $350, jail time up to 15 days, and a suspension of your snowmobile registration and privileges for six months. Any snowmobile driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more can be charged with a SWI, the snowmobile equivalent of a DWI. This more serious charge can lead to harsher penalties, including higher fines and increased jail time.

A second type of SWAI charge involves driving a snowmobile while under the influence of drugs, and not alcohol. Similar to a DWAI-Drugs, the SWAI-Drugs charge is a misdemeanor offense that can be brought against any snowmobile driver who operates the vehicle while on drugs. If convicted, a SWAI-Drugs charge can bring harsh penalties, including a fine up to $500, jail time up to 90 days, and a one-year suspension of your snowmobile registration and privileges.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for or charged with SWAI, you need to hire an experienced New York DWI attorney immediately. At Nave DWI Defense Attorneys, our lawyers are standing by to defend you against SWAI charges or other DWI criminal charges. Contact us today for excellent, experienced legal assistance. Call us at 1-866-792-7800 for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.