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The effect of Wisconsin's zero tolerance law on minors

The legal age to consume alcohol in every state, including Wisconsin, is 21. But as most Wisconsin residents know, consumption of alcohol by minors is widespread. The state's drunk driving laws are particularly tough on minors. If convicted of a drunk driving offense, minors can face harsh consequences.

Wisconsin has what is known as a zero tolerance law for minors charged with drunk driving. This law, which can be found in some form in all states, makes it a DUI for a minor to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more. This is an extremely low number, and can easily be reached by consuming one drink.

The purpose of this law is to combat underage drinking, as studies have shown that more than a third of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involving 15 to 20 year olds are alcohol-related. What does this mean for Wisconsin's minors? It means that the police are on the lookout for underage drinkers. Whether an individual is stopped for a relatively minor traffic violation or something more serious, police officers may be on the lookout for alcohol consumption, and may request tests to determine if a minor motorist has been drinking.

Those who are convicted of breaking the zero tolerance law can face serious penalties. License suspension is likely, as is harm to one's reputation. These penalties can have an impact on a minor's ability to obtain a job, which, at their young age, can have a dampening impact on their lifelong earnings. These individuals need to ensure that they adequately protect themselves by putting forth the best criminal defense they can muster. An attorney may be able to help.

Source: FindLaw, "Underage DUI: Zero Tolerance Laws," accessed on Aug. 14, 2016

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