First OWI With Minor Passenger
While most first OWI violations are first offenses subject only to civil penalties, if you were driving with a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the case will be elevated to a criminal charge.
You face similar penalties to those charged with second offense OWI: between a minimum five-day and a maximum 6-month jail sentence.
The driving revocation is trickier. When this law passed in July 2010, the legislation only specified that the jail sentence would be the same as a second offense. Some prosecutors mistakenly believe that the revocation gets doubled from 12 months to 18 months. Even before this law went into effect, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation would double the length of the revocation in the event the judgment of conviction it received from a court showed that there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The problem is that when courts apply this revocation doubling at the sentencing hearing, the WI DOT may double it as well.
It is important to have a lawyer who is able to guide the judge and prosecutor on the proper application of the law so that your revocation does not get an extra doubling.
The Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement follows the same guidelines for a civil first offense OWI, meaning that if the result of your breath test at the police station or blood test at the hospital result is .15 or higher, you will be required to put the IID in your vehicle.
Again, it’s important that your lawyer understands this as some prosecutors may believe the IID applies in all OWI with minor cases as it does in all second offenses.