Interviewer:  I’d like to switch gears here and talk about underage drinking and underage DUI and OWI. When dealing with the parent of a minor or someone under the age of 21, are there misconceptions that they often have?

Nathan:  Not that I’m aware of. Wisconsin has an absolute sobriety underage drinking level. A lot of times, the misconception is we need to fight this to get this OWI off, but if they have one…say, a kid comes up with an O7 or an O6 or an O5. Obviously under the legal limit, but they’re also under the legal limit to consume alcohol legally and that’s where that happens.

Mistakes Underage Drinkers Make During an Arrest

Interviewer:  What are some of the common mistakes that you see the under 21 crowd making when they are arrested or during the entire process? My question is what are some of the mistakes that you see they are making?

Nathan:  Unfortunately, they’re the same. The OWI‑related interaction that people have with police officers are the same regardless of age.

Interviewer:  In a situation where someone has a DUI and they’re underage, are they required to go to counseling?

Nathan:  Everyone is required to go through counseling when you have an OWI in the state of Wisconsin. Doing an AOD, or alcohol and other drug assessment, is a required penalty before you can get your valid driver’s license back. Everyone has to go through that. What type of impact will it have on their job? It depends on the type of job, but it will have a significant impact, usually, on getting into Masters programs, getting into apprenticeship programs, and moving down the road to getting a good job.

One thing people always ask me is whether or not getting an OWI will ever be removed from their record, and the answer is no. When the laws changed during the last few years it made it a build-able offense which means Wisconsin will count prior offenses which will enable them to increase your penalties the more OWIs you get, which makes sense.

An OWI Cannot be Expunged

That means that they keep track of all of them. No, it is not possible to expunge an OWI, and it will stay on there. One of the things I talk to people about is the day you die you’ll be able to see that you had an OWI.

Interviewer:  Is that something that police officers take into account?

Nathan:  Absolutely not.