Operating while intoxicated or OWI charge means you got caught driving after drinking. Drivers 21 and up who have a BAC of .08 may face OWI charges. If you are under 21, you may have a different experience.
Under Wisconsin’s “not a drop” or “absolute sobriety” law, you may face immediate consequences for having a BAC that registers any alcohol. Learn more about the stop and possible outcomes of underage drinking and driving.
What does implied consent mean?
When the police pull you over, they have to have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. An officer usually pulls you over after witnessing you run a stop sign or not using your blinker. During the stop, an officer may begin to ask questions about your whereabouts and activities before driving. If the police suspect you consumed alcohol, the offer may ask you to take a breath test. You have the right to refuse. However, under the implied consent law, the police will take your license, and DMV will suspend it, regardless of the outcome of the stop.
What does an underage conviction mean?
If you do agree to the breath test, and it registers the presence of any alcohol, you will face penalties. Unlike drivers 21 years old and above, you do not have to hit the .08 threshold because of the “not a drop” law. The conviction comes with mandatory fines and a three-month license suspension. You cannot petition for a provisional license, even for work purposes. Note that an underage drinking and driving charge may not go on your record as an OWI; however, this is up to the court.
Traversing an underage driving under the influence charge may prove tricky. While some long-term penalties may not remain, you will still have to deal with the consequences.