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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin carries stiff penalties regardless of the situation. However, operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) with a child in the car can incur even harsher penalties. Drunk driving is estimated to cause over one-third of traffic fatalities in Wisconsin. Sadly, many intoxicated driving accident victims are children. Because of this, Wisconsin has instituted enhanced penalties for OWI offenders who have a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.  

OWI With a Minor Passenger in Wisconsin

The severity of the penalties someone faces for drunk driving varies significantly depending on the driver’s history. First-time OWI offenses usually only result in civil penalties. The offender must pay a fine and cannot drive for a license revocation period of up to nine months. However, if a driver has been charged with OWI in the past and is arrested for a second or subsequent OWI, he or she may face criminal consequences.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers account for nearly 30 percent of fatalities in accidents involving drunk driving. While an adult may knowingly make the decision to get in a car with an intoxicated driver, children often have little choice in the matter. For this reason, OWI with a passenger under the age of 16 is a very serious offense in Wisconsin, and you should be aware of the potential consequences if you or someone you know has been arrested for this crime.

Penalties for OWI With a Child in Wisconsin

In general, the possible penalties for an OWI conviction in Wisconsin vary depending on the number of prior convictions on the offender’s record and the harm the offense has caused to other people. For example, a first offense typically results in only a fine of $150 to $300 and a revoked driver’s license for 6-9 months, whereas a fourth or subsequent offense, or one resulting in great bodily harm or death, can result in serious felony charges, with penalties that can amount to up to $100,000 in fines, up to 40 years in prison, and a revoked license for 5 years beyond the confinement sentence in the most serious cases.

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