Man Convicted of DWI After Driving an ATV on Private Property

To be guilty of a DWI in Missouri there is no requirement that a person is driving a car or that he is driving on a public road. A Warren County man was recently convicted of driving an ATV while intoxicated in his friend’s front yard. The man had prior convictions and received a fifteen year prison sentence even though he was never behind the wheel of a car.

There are two major issues in this case. First, the man was not on any public property and was certainly not on a public roadway. Second, can an ATV really be classified as a motor vehicle for purposes of a DWI in Missouri?

Unfortunately, there is no requirement in a Missouri drunk driving case for the person to drive on a public roadway. In the case here, the man was driving in a front yard so presumably the police were able to see him and arrest him. The same would be true for any private property, no matter how remote. If a person is driving and a person is drunk, then it does not matter where those actions took place. If a golf cart is considered a motor vehicle, then any person driving a golf cart on a golf course while intoxicated is guilty of Driving While Intoxicated.

Missouri law has not always been clear on what is a motor vehicle for purposes of drunk driving. The courts have now clarified that an ATV is a motor vehicle for those purposes and anyone driving an ATV while intoxicated is guilty of driving while intoxicated in Missouri.

Source: State of Missouri v. Paul Scott Gittemeier, Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED98399.

  • Our firm has worked with Missouri residents to handle difficult or complex drunk driving cases. To find our more, please visit our webpage with more information on DWI and our firm’s DWI Results.
//]]>