Friday, February 14, 2014


Darke County Sheriff Toby L. Spencer is reminding operators of snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles to use caution while operating these types of vehicles and be aware that trespassing on another’s property is a criminal offense.

The weather the last few months has been less than desirable for some; however, it has become a welcome sight for snowmobile and ATV enthusiasts. With all of the snow that remains on the ground it has created great opportunities to ride these special purpose vehicles through out the county. As a result the Darke County Sheriff’s Office has received complaints from citizens that a few of these operators have been trespassing on private property including residential homes and farm fields.

Ohio Revised Code 2911.21 states “No person, without privilege to do so, shall knowingly enter or remain on the land or premises of another”. There is additional language in this section that also deals with other specific forms of trespass as well. If found guilty of this offense it is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree subjecting the offender up to 30 days in jail and a $250.00 fine. According to this law if the offender used a snowmobile, off highway motorcycle or all purpose vehicle during the trespass the court shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for this violation. In addition if the offender has prior convictions of trespass with these types of vehicles there could be additional penalties including impoundment of certificates of registration and license plates of the vehicle involved.

It appears that Ohio legislators have made it clear that stiffer penalties should be applied to trespassers that use snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles. Snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles that are being operated on private property must have the permission of the land owner or the person authorized to give consent.

Snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles are not permitted to operate on public roadways in Darke County. According to Ohio law snowmobiles and off road vehicles may be permitted to operate by valid licensed drivers on the berm or shoulder of a non limited access highway, county or township road when terrain permits such operation to be taken safely and when travelling from one permissible location to another. Crossing a roadway is permissible when the operator yields to other traffic and can cross safely. Chapter 4519 of the Ohio Revised Code contains many of the laws and specific language regarding the use of snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles if you desire more detailed information.

Sheriff Spencer reminds operators of special vehicles to operate these vehicles safely, lawfully and respect the property of others during their use.

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