In light of the tougher OWI laws in Wisconsin, parents might want to be more careful when attending holiday gatherings with children along for the ride. Aside from criminalizing fourth offense drunk driving, new laws that took effect earlier this year also make first offense OWI a crime if a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle.
Lt. Laurie Steeber with the Wisconsin State Patrol says that’s something parents should keep in mind when taking kids to holiday parties where alcohol will be served. She says they should explore other options for getting home if the driver has been drinking, or a designated driver should be appointed ahead of time.
Steeber says getting caught with a child in the car while driving with a blood alcohol level above .08 can mean up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,100.
Steeber says parents have a responsibility to keep all passengers safe by driving home sober.