The laws and penalties for teenage drunk drivers are different (and more strict) than those for drivers over the age of 21.
Wisconsin Underage OWI Laws
The BAC (blood alcohol content) limit for drivers 21 years and older in Wisconsin is 0.08. That means if a driver blows at or over 0.08 % BAC at the time of driving, they can be charged with a drunk driving charge. This limit does not apply to drivers under the age of 21.
Wisconsin has what’s known as a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage OWIs. That means that an underage driver who blows anything above a 0.00% while driving can be charge with a drunk driving offense.
An underage driver can also be charged with an OWI if they are caught driving with other illegal substances (such as marijuana) in their system.
Penalties for Underage OWI
The penalties for underage drunk driving are also quite strict. A first time offender can face a fine of several hundred dollars, as well as a 6-9 month license suspension. Another conviction within 10 years of the first offense can result in $300-$1000 in fines, up to a year in jail, and a license suspension of 12-18 months.
In addition to these civil and criminal penalties, an underage OWI charge brings several often overlooked consequences, most notably car insurance. After any OWI charge, your auto insurance premiums will likely go up by several hundred dollars per month. With an underage OWI, some insurance companies will even go so far as to cancel the policy or refuse to renew.
Underage OWIs are serious offenses that can impact a young driver’s life for a long time. If your child is facing drunk driving charges, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options.