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Ask a Trooper: Is a license required with an ATV?

By Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I got a DWI recently, and my driver’s license is revoked and I no longer own a motor vehicle. I do have an ATV and was wondering if I need a driver’s license to operate it.

Answer: In general, a valid driver’s license “is required” to operate an ATV on a road right-of-way (ROW). A driver’s license is not required to operate an ATV on a designated trail that includes a ROW. 

Be advised that a person can still be arrested for a DWI on an ATV. For more information on where you can drive an ATV, check out the Department of Natural Resources website (

This question also segues into a good reminder to stress that drunken driving remains a major issue in our state. In the last five years, 651 people were killed in drunken driving crashes. Each year, 30,000 people are arrested for DWI.

In Minnesota, repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license.

Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges. Learn more at

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send them to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205 or e-mail