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What are Wisconsin’s penalties for underage drunk driving?

The laws in Wisconsin governing drinking and driving are strict and convictions carry with them the potential for very serious consequences. Penalties for underage drunk driving can also be harsh and include fines, driver’s license suspension and more. It can be important for people under the age of 21 to learn what these laws are before they are in challenging situations related to driving while intoxicated or in possession of alcohol.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the state has what is called an Absolute Sobriety law which means a minor can be arrested for drunk driving for having any amount of alcohol in the blood at all. This is in contrast to drivers age 21 or older who can only be arrested if their BAC level is greater than 0.08 percent. These arrests carry with them fines of $200, three month license suspensions and four license demerit points. If passengers under the age of 16 are in vehicles at the time, the penalties can double.

Penalties for illegally procuring alcohol and for possessing or consuming it among drivers under 21 include:

  • A first offense of procuring alcohol or misrepresenting age can result in fines up to $500 and license suspensions up to 90 days.
  • A first offense of alcohol possession or consumption can result in fines up to $200 with license suspensions up to 90 days.
  • A second offense for either of these offenses within a year can increase license suspension periods to one year and may also increase fines.
  • A third offense for either of these offenses within a year can increase license suspension periods to two years and may also increase fines.

Drivers convicted of any of these charges may also be required to participate in a supervised work program and attend alcohol programs. Additional fines and increase license suspension periods can also be experienced if drivers have alcohol in their cars when stopped by police.

Drunk driving charges can prove difficult for drivers but may be especially difficult for young drivers just learning the state’s laws. This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information regarding underage drunk driving penalties.

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