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What Happens if I Am Arrested for OWI With A Minor Passenger?

 Posted on October 19, 2020 in DUI/OWI

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.

However, if a minor passenger under the age of 16 was in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, the penalties you may face will likely increase regardless of your prior record. For example, a first offender can face jail time of up to 6 months in addition to increased fines of up to $1,100 and a revoked license for up to 18 months. Second and subsequent offenders will face double the amount of fines, imprisonment, and license revocation that they would have without a minor passenger in the vehicle, and offenders who cause great bodily harm or commit homicide while OWI with a child passenger can have their license revoked for 10 years in addition to the length of their imprisonment. In these latter cases, the increased penalties can be incurred even if there is an unborn child in the vehicle. 

Defending Against OWI With Minor Passenger Charges

Because of the potential for such serious penalties, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges of OWI with a minor passenger. Though the court may be less lenient in this situation, your attorney will still do everything possible to help you avoid a conviction or reduce the penalties you are facing. We may be able to have your charges dismissed if we can demonstrate that you were not, in fact, intoxicated at the time of your arrest.

Contact a Milwaukee County DUI Defense Lawyer

At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we defend clients in even the most serious of DUI cases, and we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and entitled to fair treatment under the law. If you are facing the serious consequences associated with drunk driving with a minor passenger, contact a skilled Waukesha County criminal defense attorney at 262-303-4916 to request a free consultation.






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