At one point, not too long ago, Wisconsin had the distinction as the state with the highest incidence of underage drinking in the U.S. Although numbers are now hovering closer to the national average, law enforcement remains focused on keeping alcohol out of the reach of minors.
Recently, Wisconsin law enforcement officials turned to the state legislature to put the kibosh on adults hosting underage drinking parties following an appeals court decision that made many local government prohibitions unenforceable.
In the recent case, the court ruled that a social hosting ordinance in Fond Du Lac County could not apply to a high school graduation party. The state statute only prohibits adults allowing other people’s underage children to drink in places they own which require a license or permit to sell alcohol – such as owning the local pub and allowing your kid’s friends to stop by for a drink.
That does not sit well with some lawmakers and law enforcement, who would like to see stricter laws barring adults from hosting underage drinkers in their homes. The argument goes that the sooner kids start drinking, the higher the risk for dependence. And, of course, there are always concerns about driving under the influence (DUI), which many youth admit to doing.
There are already laws in place prohibiting adults from purchasing alcohol for someone underage, however, it is difficult for law enforcement to pin down the buyer at a party lacking direct testimony or receipts. And of course, there are always the issues of limited time and resources to investigate parents hosting graduation parties when other, potentially more serious crimes require the attention of police.
Although similar legislation seeking to ban underage drinking parties has been introduced previously, it has never made it past the Governor’s desk. However, lawmakers are hopeful they can get it passed this session. If so, the large majority of responsible parents hosting parties will have to be far more diligent to root out contraband at gatherings – their undeterred teens will have to find refuge in places unknown. The few parents who exercise no restraint on teen alcohol consumption in their homes will be put on notice.
Wisconsin OWI Charges | Underage Drinking and Possession of Alcohol
By and large, parents typically do a good job instilling responsible behaviors in their children, however, kids will sometimes make mistakes. Charges for underage drinking or a minor operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) can have serious consequences for a juvenile offender.
A conviction for a juvenile crime is not insignificant – it can mean losing opportunities for student loans, college programs or even impact your child’s ability to find employment. It also means gaining entry into a juvenile justice system that sometimes falls short in its interactions with youthful offenders.
Contact a Waukesha Wisconsin Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your family member has been charged with a crime including underage drinking, minor in possession of alcohol, Wisconsin OWI, drug charges or assault – certainly all within the realm of a teenager’s poor judgement – it is important to get the help of an experienced juvenile defense lawyer promptly. Email or call our Waukesha, Wisconsin juvenile defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for help today 262-542-3900 – Free Consultation of your case provided.