Mississippi’s Application of DUI Law to All Terrain Vehicle Operators

Posted by James Ferguson | Feb 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, are the well known off-highway vehicles that travel on four tires and have handlebars for steering control. These vehicles are regulated by state law just like normal sedans and sports utility vehicles. Similarly, individuals who are caught operating ATVs while intoxicated are subject to the same alcohol and drug testing as offenders who are driving traditional cars. Furthermore, they have the same obligation to remain drug and alcohol free given the possible dangers to the public that drunk driving on an ATV can pose. As a result, DUI on an ATV is taken as seriously as the traditional DUIs and it comes with the same legal consequences.

Regulation of All Terrain Vehicles in Mississippi
In Mississippi, by statute, ATVs are defined as any motorized vehicle manufactured and designed exclusively for off-road use that is 50 inches or less in width and has an unladen dry weight of six hundred pounds or less. The vehicle must travel on three or more low-pressure tires and have a seat designed by the operator with the use of handlebars for steering the vehicle. ATVs are regulated by Mississippi state law. The law prohibits ATVs to be operated on public property unless the person possesses a driver's license or has a certificate to operate the vehicle. Each person under the age of 16 years old who is operating the ATV must wear a crash helmet that complies with minimum guidelines. This is required before a driver can operate the ATV on any public property. Any violation of these requirements are punishable by fine. The state requires ATV drivers to take a safety course approved by the Department of Public Safety before obtaining a certificate to operate the vehicle.

Requirement to Submit to Testing
Given that ATVs are motorized and pose a possible danger to the public, anyone who operates an ATV is subject to the Mississippi DUI laws. When under suspicion of DUI, the operator is required to submit to testing for law enforcement to arrive at a determination. These types of scenarios can occur at national parks or on private tracks, usually after an accident occurs.

Penalties for Being Under the Influence
Penalties for ATV operators who are convicted of DUI are the same or similar as those for drivers of traditional cars. The first offense is considered a misdemeanor and carries a fine of $250 to $1000, up to two days in jail, the requirement of a substance education course and a 120-day license suspension. The second offense is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of $600 to $1500, five days to six months in jail, the requirement of community service, and up to one year of suspended license.

Let Us Help With Your DUI Case
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience litigating DUI cases involving non-traditional vehicles such as ATVs. If you have been charged with a DUI while operating an ATV or another non-traditional vehicle, contact us now. We will provide an aggressive defense to ensure that your rights are properly represented.

See related blog posts:
Trucking Under the Influence: DUI and Your Commercial Driver’s License
Boating Under the Influence in Mississippi

About the Author

James Ferguson

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. During college, I studied at East Tennessee State University, where I received a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, which I then followed up with a Master's in Criminology from the University of Memphis. Before beginning my legal career, I worked as a Project Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where I assisted in training law enforcement officers in the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training. The purpose of the project was to provide officers with the tools to deal with citizens in a state of mental crisis. I then went on to study law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. During law school, I clerked with Victor W. Carmody, Jr., the lawyer who wrote the book on DUI law in Mississippi. I am currently licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi, and spend a majority of my time traveling the highways and biways of Mississippi defending those who have been charged with a DUI.


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