As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to find out that your child has been arrested for drunk driving. Your child put himself or herself – and others – at serious risk, and now your child is facing the very real possibility that one teenage mistake could change his or her life forever.
If your teenager is facing drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, you and your teen both need to understand what to expect over the weeks and months to come. There is a lot at stake, and each of you will need to make smart decisions in order to try to minimize the consequences of your teen’s DUI arrest.
Five Steps to Take After an Underage DUI Arrest in Wisconsin
1. Understand the Charges
One of the first steps that you need to take is to understand your teen’s charges. Wisconsin is a “zero tolerance” state, which means that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.00. As a result, minors caught driving with any amount of alcohol in their system will generally be charged with the offense of operating while intoxicated (OWI).
However, depending on the circumstances surrounding your teenager’s arrest, he or she could be facing additional charges as well. These could include charges for:
- Underage possession or consumption of alcohol
- Underage purchasing alcohol or misrepresenting age
- Underage use of a fake ID
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle (if your teen had friends in the car at the time of the arrest)
2. Understand the Penalties
In Wisconsin, a first-time underage OWI conviction can mean steep fines, points, loss of driving privileges, and other penalties. Your teenager may also be required to participate in a substance abuse and treatment program. If your child is facing additional charges, he or she is facing additional penalties as well.
3. Understand the Long-Term Consequences
Beyond the juvenile or criminal penalties for drunk driving, it is also important – and in many ways more important – to consider the long-term consequences of a teenage DUI conviction. For example, a drunk driving conviction could make it more difficult for your child to get into college or find a job. In addition, the penalties for future drunk driving offenses increase substantially, and due to a recent law change, a fourth OWI can now be charged as a felony offense in Wisconsin.
4. Learn about Potential Defenses to a Wisconsin DUI
Before you and your teenager resign yourselves to the consequences of a drunk driving conviction, it is important to understand that there are a number of potential defenses to a Wisconsin OWI. These defenses range from violations of your child’s Constitutional rights to faulty administration of chemical tests and field sobriety tests (FSTs).
5. Speak with an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney
For information specific to your teenager’s individual case, it is important that you speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we can help you and your teen take steps to strengthen your teen’s defense, and we can provide a thorough assessment of the charges, penalties, and defenses at play.
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
Schedule an Underage OWI Defense Consultation at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C.
To speak with an attorney about defending your teenager’s drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, contact the Wausau, WI law offices of Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. You don’t have time to waste, so call (715) 842-2291 or contact us online and schedule an appointment today.