We’ve blogged before on non-automobile DWI cases such as SWI (Snowmobiling While Intoxicated) and BWI (Boating While Intoxicated)… but how about ZWI (Zamboning While Intoxicated). Sounds crazy but it’s true… in Apple Valley, Minnesota, police officers arrested a 34-year-old rink attendant suspected of driving while impaired Monday night. What makes this incident significantly different from typical DWI arrests is that the individual suspected of drunk driving was arrested at the youth hockey ice rink instead of the usual roadside arrest. The man was arrested at the Hayes Hockey Arena on suspicion of being intoxicated while operating the rink’s Zamboni machine.
Before the man was taken to a local police station for a breath test to measure his blood alcohol concentration level, the police officers had him perform a series of field sobriety tests which he failed. His records showed previous DWI convictions; twice in 1999 and once in 2002. There are no charges formally filed against the arrested Zamboni operator at this time as the his sample is still in the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis, and the BAC test results are not returned yet. However, the circumstantial evidence against him suggests a big probability that he’ll be facing multiple criminal charges.
The hockey players aged 11 to 13, and the spectators at the Hayes Arena on Monday night watched as the Zamboni driver erratically weaved and smacked the machine hard against the boards. Resurfacing an ice rink should have been completed in 10 minutes, but it took the machine driver about 25 minutes to unsatisfactorily complete the job and struggled to maneuver the machine into the arena’s garage.
The Pee Wee coach did call 911 to report the incident which led to the arrest of the alleged drunk driver. The coach reported that the rink attendant may have been drinking before arriving at the arena for his Zamboni shift because he noticed before the start of the game that the man showed signs of intoxication, such as red eyes and smell of the energy drink Red Bull. The Zamboni operator was already in the arena garage when police officers arrived and he was arrested.
How can an intoxicated Zamboni operator be charged with DWI? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the Minnesota DWI law.
The Definition of Driving While Impaired (DWI)
In Minnesota DWI Law, an individual operating, driving or in physical control of a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, hazardous substance or controlled substance; OR registers a BAC level of 0.08 or over as measured by a breath test, urine test or blood test within 24 hours of being stopped by a police officer; OR registers any amount of Schedule I or II controlled substance in the system can be arrested for DWI. An individual is considered driving, operating or in physical control of a motorized vehicle if he or she is actually driving, or/and is positioned near, and can reach the ignition keys (even when the vehicle isn’t running) to turn the engine on at any given time.
Driving or operating a vehicle while impaired is not the only way that a driver be arrested or convicted with DWI. Operating a snowmobile or a boat while impaired can also make an individual convicted of DWI. The next paragraphs will explain the law of Minnesota regarding SWI and BWI.
Snowmobiling While Intoxicated (SWI)
It is a crime in Minnesota to operate or be in physical control of a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol, a hazardous substance or controlled substance which leads to the impairment of an individual’s ability to operate or drive a snowmobile. Just like in the case of a typical DWI, refusal of a snowmobile driver to submit to any of the BAC tests requested by an officer is a crime. Being convicted for snowmobiling while intoxicated comes with penalties, fines, loss of snowmobile operating privileges or even revocation of driver’s license. For more information on SWI violations, penalties and sentences, you may refer to our blog post Snowmobiling While Intoxicated (SWI) in Minnesota.
Boating While Impaired (BWI)
Operating watercraft while intoxicated is also a violation against Minnesota state laws. Drinking alcohol beverages on board is acceptable as long as you’re not the one operating the boat. Operating or being in control of a motorboat under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or its metabolite, or other illegal chemical is considered unlawful in the state of Minnesota. Just like in a typical DWI road conviction, being convicted for boating while intoxicated or BWI carries heavy penalties and sentences. Here’s the main difference between a DWI and BWI. In a DWI arrest, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving behavior to pull you over. In BWI, however, it’s legal for a DNR agent to board your watercraft or boat whether or not there’s suspicion of violation. This is to ensure that everyone on board the watercraft is safe. For more information about BWI, you may refer to our blog post What is Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) and is it different from DUI?.
Getting DWI Help
No matter what kind of DWI you have been charged with you’ll need a the best Minneapolis DWI lawyer in your corner if you want the best possible outcome for you case. Douglas T. Kans has 15 years of experience defending DWI charges in the Twin Cities and beyond. For a free consultation call Kans Law Firm at (952) 835-6314).