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What if I Am Arrested for Drinking and Driving With a Child Passenger?

 Posted on March 02, 2021 in DUI/OWI

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.

However, if there is a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle, you can face criminal charges even if it is your first offense. Driving under the influence with a child passenger is punishable by up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. Your driver’s license may also be revoked for up to 18 months. It is also possible that driving under the influence with your child in the car can influence other aspects of your life, including your career, personal reputation, and even child custody matters.

Speak With a Lawyer if You Have Been Arrested and Charged with OWI

If you or a loved one were charged with OWI with a child passenger, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Do not answer police questions or give any statements to police. You could be looking at jail time and other steep penalties. Your lawyer can protect your right against self-incrimination and help you build a strong defense strategy.

Contact a Walworth County OWI Defense Attorney

A first-time drunk driving arrest is usually a civil offense in Wisconsin. However, if you have a child under the age of 16 in the car, you face enhanced penalties. You could be sentenced to up to six months in jail. You may also have your license revoked for 18 months. If you have been caught driving under the influence in the past, the punishments you face are even greater. Speak with a Racine County criminal defense lawyer from the Bucher Law Group, LLC for help. Call us today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free, confidential case consultation.




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