DUI Penalties Increase When Minors Are in The Vehicle By Andrew Mishlove on January 17, 2021

vehicle speeding toward a stop signAcross the country states enact strict penalties for DUI charges. In Wisconsin, where drivers can be charged with OWI, or operating while intoxicated, even first-time offenses carry the possibility of serious penalties. If a minor under the age of 16 is in the vehicle at the time of arrest, charges become significantly more severe.

DUI penalties increase when minors under the age of 16 are in the vehicle, because drivers face child endangerment charges, making charges criminal rather than just civil. DUI lawyers at Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC help Wisconsin drivers understand the OWI penalties they face, and explore their options for defense.

Jail Time

In the state of Wisconsin, drivers convicted of a first-time OWI offense do not face any confinement, or jail time. It is not unless a driver is convicted of a second OWI charge within a 10-year period that they face confinement. However, if a driver has a minor under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time they are arrested, they face jail time even on a first-time OWI offense. The possible jail sentence for a first-time OWI conviction with a minor in the car is between five days and six months.


All drivers who are convicted of OWI face penalties in the form of fines. For a first-time OWI offense, drivers may be penalized with fines ranging from $150 to $300. As with confinement penalties, the fines faced by drivers convicted of a first-time OWI with a minor in the car are consistent with those faced by drivers convicted of a second OWI offense within a 10-year period. Fines for an OWI with a minor in the vehicle can range from $350 to $1,100. In addition to the fines, drivers are also charged a $435 OWI surcharge.

License Revocation

When someone is convicted of OWI, they are likely to have their driver’s license revoked for a period of time. The length of license revocation for a first-time OWI offense is six to nine months. If a minor is in the car at the time of arrest, the length of license revocation can be doubled to 12-18 months. Drivers in Wisconsin should understand that the length of license revocation is in addition to any time spent in confinement. This means that if a driver is sentenced to six months of jail time, they will be without their license for that entire time, and then another 12 to 18 months once they are released.

DUI Defense

A DUI, or OWI, charge is not the same as a conviction. It is important that individuals who face OWI charges work with knowledgeable DUI attorneys who can defend their charges. Our attorneys consider defense strategies such as improper testing, faulty test results, improper reading of test results, lack of probable cause for the stop, and lack of probable cause for the arrest. Our goal is to help clients minimize or avoid the potentially harsh penalties of OWI conviction.

Contact Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC

If you have been arrested for OWI, the DUI attorneys at Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC can help you build a strong defense. To discuss the details of your charges with our legal team, contact us online, or call our law firm at (920) 230-2662.

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Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law

Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law has been rated the #1 OWI/DUI law firm in the state by Wisconsin Law Journal Reader Rankings. Our OWI/DUI specialists have been highly rated by organizations including: 

  • Avvo™
  • Super Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell 
  • Better Business Bureau 

To speak with one of our board-certified OWI/DUI defense specialists, request a consultation online or call us at (414) 332-3499.

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