Underage alcohol consumption/possession (underage drinking) tickets are extremely common once students return to college. Fortunately, an underage drinking ticket is a forfeiture. A forfeiture is a non-criminal offense that results in a fine. Jail or prison time are not consequences of a forfeiture, but certain other collateral consequences are.
Section 125.07(4) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides general underage alcohol consumption guidelines.
Consuming or possessing alcohol, when the individual is between 17-20 years old can have serious consequences. A first offense carries with it fines ranging between $100.00 and $200.00 and a 30-90 day driver’s license suspension. A second offense within one year carries with it fines ranging between $200.00 and $300.00 and up to a year driver’s license suspension. A third offense within one year carries a fine of $300.00 – $500.00 and a driver’s license suspension of up to one year. A fourth offense within a year carries a fine between $500.00 and $1,000.00 and a driver’s license suspension of up to two years.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be beneficial when facing an underage drinking ticket. Often these matters can be resolved in a manner that does not result in a driver’s license suspension and the ticket remaining on one’s record forever. In most municipalities throughout Wisconsin an individual is presented with the opportunity to complete an alcohol awareness class. Once the class is paid for and completed, often the ticket is reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed altogether. Classes are usually not offered for second and subsequent offenses.
Using or possessing fake identification is also a forfeiture, but is punishable by a fine ranging between $300.00 and $1,250.00 and a driver’s license suspension ranging between 30 and 90 days.
Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer Matthew Meyer has defended numerous individuals facing underage alcohol charges. While it may be easy to say “this is just a fine,” it’s important to remember that the citation and the arrest stick with you for the rest of your life. An underage alcohol violation is not just a fine and has to be reported in certain instances for the rest of your life. Law school, medical school, college, or the military may seem like they’re years down the road, but underage alcohol offenses will come back to haunt you. It’s usually a better idea to deal with these issues while everything is fresh.