Connecticut Now Has DUI Law for ATVs

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The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police have made their first arrest under a new law that makes it illegal to operate an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) while under the influence of alcohol.

EnCon Police arrested Jason Wesolowski, 26, Torrington on charges of Criminal Trespass 3rd degree, Operating Under the Influence and Operating an All Terrain Vehicle Under the Influence.

The arrest was made in Goshen on Nov. 24, when EnCon Police responded to a complaint of an ATV being operated on private property without permission.

When EnCon Police arrived at the scene on North Goshen Road and stopped Wesolowski on his ATV they determined that in addition to trespassing on well-marked private property he appeared to be operating under the influence of alcohol. EnCon Police reported that they saw a number of empty beer cans in Wesolowski's backpack.

After Wesolowski failed a field sobriety test he was arrested and released on a $500 bond. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 4 at Superior Court in Bantam.

The statute relating to Operating an All Terrain Vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – or both – is a new law that went into effect Oct.1, 2006. Prior to that date, an operator of an ATV could be charged with "operating under the influence" only if they were driving the vehicle on a public highway. The law was actually taken up by the legislature at the urging of the State’s Attorney's office at the Bantam courthouse.