Because individuals are prohibited from consuming alcohol under the age of 21, Wisconsin takes a tough stance on underage drivers who drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. In fact, the state’s Absolute Sobriety law makes it an offense for these individuals to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. If you or your child were recently charged with an absolute sobriety violation or OWI in Wisconsin, you should immediately contact a qualified defense lawyer.
It’s important to note that an underage OWI charge isn’t limited to operating a car or truck while under the influence—driving any motorized vehicle, such as a boat, snow mobile, or all-terrain vehicle, could result in an arrest.
The penalties for an underage OWI depend on the number of offenses on your criminal record. If this is your first offense, you could be sentenced to fines ranging from $250-$500, a 30- to 90-day license suspension, and an alcohol assessment. For a second offense, this sentence is increased to $300-$500 in fines, a one-year license suspension, and another alcohol assessment. A supervised work program and court-ordered stay may also be required for those convicted of underage OWI.
These aren’t the only consequences a minor may face. While individuals under 17 may have their criminal records sealed (only those in the legal system or law enforcement may access this information), the criminal records of those over the age of 18 are accessible by third parties. Moreover, no absolute sobriety or OWI offenses are subject to expungement in Wisconsin. This could make things difficult when applying for employment or even educational opportunities. For this reason, working with an attorney to fight an underage OWI or absolute sobriety violation is certainly an investment in your future.
Because the bar is set so low for underage OWIs, errors can occur. For example, using certain types of mouthwash, gum, or mints can affect the breathalyzer test. Even common medical conditions, like diabetes or hypoglycemia, can produce compounds that are easily mistaken by the machine for alcohol.
At Tracey Wood & Associates, we are familiar with the most effective defense strategies, and can work with you and your family to take your case to court or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. Thanks to our attorneys’ credentials and knowledge, we have a proven track record of helping minors facing underage OWI charges.