Absolute sobriety law and underage drinking

Published: May. 13, 2016 at 9:34 AM CDT
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Graduation season is approaching and here in Wisconsin, the leading cause of death for teens is traffic crashes. So why not follow the "not a drop" law to save a life whether it’s yours or someone else’s.

Gerry Voight of the Wisconsin State Patrol joined Hello Wisconsin more about what drivers should know.

The Absolute Sobriety law is more commonly referred to as "Not A Drop". Wisconsin law clearly defines that any person not of legal drinking age (currently 21 years of age), cannot drive if s/he has consumed ANY alcohol.

The law states:§346.63 (2m) If a person has not attained the legal drinking age, as defined in §125.02 (8m), the person may not drive or operate a motor vehicle while he or she has an alcohol concentration of more than 0.0 but not more than 0.08. One penalty for violation of this subsection is suspension of a person's operating privilege under 343.30 (1p). Simply put, if you are under the legal drinking age and drive after having even one drink of beer, wine, liquor, etc., you can be arrested.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says, " To prevent needless deaths and injuries during the start of the graduation season and other springtime celebrations, law enforcement agencies are reminding young motorists and their parents about Wisconsin's Absolute Sobriety Law for drivers under age 21."

The website says, "If you are under age 21 and if the prosecution can establish that at the time of the violation you had an alcohol concentration above .00, you will be found guilty of the Absolute Sobriety "Not a Drop" law, Sec. 346.63(2m). The court must order a three-month suspension of operating privileges and a $200 forfeiture. Four points are assessed against your driving record. You are eligible immediately for an occupational license."

This is a non-criminal violation. The absolute sobriety conviction will appear on your driving record abstract for five years rather than 55 years for an OWI conviction. If at the time of the violation your alcohol concentration was .04 - .079, this is evidence of being under the influence of an intoxicant although a conviction cannot be based solely on this evidence, Sec. 885.235(1g)(b).

Gerry Voight of the Wisconsin State Patrol joined Hello Wisconsin more about what drivers should know.