Driving while intoxicated is a well-known crime with harsh penalties. Drinking underage also comes with its own penalties, existing as a separate crime on its own.
When these two crimes end up committed at the same time, what does it mean for the person facing the charges?
When can an officer pull someone over?
Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation discusses the penalties for OWI crimes in the state. First, only people aged 21 and over may have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of below 0.08 percent and avoid a DWI charge.
On the other hand, Wisconsin follows an absolute sobriety policy – the “not a drop” law – to handle anyone under 21 years of age caught drinking and driving.
When a driver hits the road, an officer needs reasonable suspicion that a driver has committed a crime in order to pull them over. If they believe the driver seems intoxicated, they have the right to request the driver to submit to a BAC test or breath analysis test. While the driver may refuse, this will result in the suspension of their license regardless of the test outcome.
Penalties for underage drunk drivers
For underage drunk drivers, the conviction may not end up on the driver’s criminal record, but this is up to the discretion of the court. However, the conviction does come with mandatory penalties such as a three-month suspension of their driver’s license, mandatory fines, and the prohibition from applying for a provisional license.
Thus, anyone facing the possibility of a DWI conviction should treat the charges seriously from the start.