In This Section...
Legal Penalties & Sanctions
Wisconsin and federal laws governing alcohol and illicit drugs to which students, faculty and staff are subject, include, but are not limited to those listed below:
- Wisconsin's Not A Drop Law, Wis. Stat. 346.63 (2m), which states that a person who has not attained the age of 21 may not drive with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.0%
- Wisconsin's Drinking Age laws
- Wisconsin's Operating While Under the Influence (OWI) laws
- Illicit Drug Laws
- Wisconsin Illicit Drug Laws, the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Wis. Stat. 961.
- Federal Illicit Drug Laws dealing with possession and distribution and penalties for violation.
Penalties are subject to change and information on this web site is not intended to replace legal advice.
State of Wisconsin
The Uniform Controlled Substance Act, Chapter 961 of the Wisconsin Statutes, regulates controlled substances and outlines specific penalties for the violation of the regulations. A person convicted of manufacturing a controlled substance, delivering a controlled substance, or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture or deliver, faces a number of penalties. Penalties vary according to the type of drug involved, the amount of drug confiscated, the number of previous convictions, and the presence of any aggravating factors. See Section 961.41 Stats.
Regarding alcohol use, Wisconsin has formidable legal sanctions:
No person may procure for, sell, dispense or give away any alcohol beverages to any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age.
See Section 125.07(1)(a)(1), Stats.
No adult may knowingly permit or fail to take action to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol beverages by an underage person on premises owned by the adult or under the adult's control. Section 125.07(1)(a)(3), Stats.
Depending on the factors involved in violating this policy, the penalties may vary from a fine of no more than $500 to fines of $10,000 and/or imprisonment.
It is against the law for an underage person to procure or attempt to procure an alcoholic beverage, to falsely represent his or her age for the purpose of obtaining alcohol, or, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age, possess or consume alcohol beverages on licensed premises. A variety of situations involving consumption of an alcoholic beverage by an underage person is also addressed in this statute. See Section 125.07(4), Stats.
A first-time violator of Section 125.07(4) can be fined up to $500, ordered to participate in a supervised work program and have his or her driver's license suspended.
To access the Wisconsin statutes online, go to http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/stats.html and enter statute 961.41 in the form for statutes related to controlled substances, 125.07 for alcohol related statutes and 346.63 for statutes related to operating a motor vehicle under the influence.
Federal Illicit Drug Laws
These laws prohibit the use, possession, distribution, manufacture or dispensing of controlled substances. Distribution of even a small amount of marijuana can mean years in prison and large fines on first offense. Other penalties under federal law include forfeiture of property, denial of federal benefits (student loans, grants and public housing) and revocation of certain federal licenses.
Several examples of the federal law that may apply to UW-Whitewater students and/or staff are listed below. Please keep in mind that statutes are regularly amended and this listing should not be used instead of seeking legal advice but may serve as a general indication of the seriousness of drug and alcohol law violations.
Controlled Substances Act:
Section 844. Penalty for simple possession
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this title or title III. Any person who violates this subsection may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 1 year, and shall be fined a minimum of $ 1,000, or both, except that if he commits such offense after a prior conviction under this title or title III, or a prior conviction for any drug or narcotic offense chargeable under the law of any State, has become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 15 days but not more than 2 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $ 2,500, except, further, that if he commits such offense after two or more prior convictions under this title or title III, or two or more prior convictions for any drug or narcotic offense chargeable under the law of any State, or a combination of two or more such offenses have become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 90 days but not more than 3 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $ 5,000. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a person convicted under this subsection for the possession of a mixture or substance which contains cocaine base shall be imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, and fined a minimum of $ 1,000, if the conviction is a first conviction under this subsection and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 5 grams, if the conviction is after a prior conviction for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection becomes final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 3 grams, or if the conviction is after 2 or more prior convictions for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection become final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram. The imposition or execution of a minimum sentence required to be imposed under this subsection shall not be suspended or deferred. Further, upon conviction, a person who violates this subsection shall be fined the reasonable costs of the investigation and prosecution of the offense, including the costs of prosecution of an offense as defined in sections 1918 and 1920 of title 28, United States Code, except that this sentence shall not apply and a fine under this section need not be imposed if the court determines under the provision of title 18 that the defendant lacks the ability to pay.
Section 859. Distribution to persons under age twenty-one
(a) First offense. Except as provided in section 419 [19 USCS Section 860], any person at least eighteen years of age who violates section 401(a)(1) [21 USCS Section 841(a)(1)] by distributing a controlled substance to a person under twenty-one years of age is (except as provided in subsection (b)) subject to (1) twice the maximum punishment authorized by section 401(b)] [21 USCS Section 841(b)], and (2) at least twice any term of supervised release authorized by section 401(b) [21 USCS Section 841(b)], for a first offense involving the same controlled substance and schedule. Except to the extent a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by section 401(b) [21 USCS Section 841(b)], a term of imprisonment under this subsection shall be not less than one year. The mandatory minimum sentencing provisions of this subsection shall not apply to offenses involving 5 grams or less of marihuana.
(b) Second offense. Except as provided in section 419 [19 USCS Section 860], any person at least eighteen years of age who violates section 401(a)(1) [21 USCS Section 841(a)(1)] by distributing a controlled substance to a person under twenty-one years of age after a prior conviction under subsection (a) of this section (or under section 303(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as in effect prior to the effective date of section 701(b) of this Act) has become final, is subject to (1) three times the maximum punishment authorized by section 401(b) [21 USCS Section 841(b)], and (2) at least three times any special parole term authorized by section 401(b) [21 USCS Section 841(b)], for a second or subsequent offense involving the same controlled substance and schedule. Except to the extent a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by section 401(b) [21 USCS Section 841(b)], a term of imprisonment under this subsection shall be not less than one year. Penalties for third and subsequent convictions shall be governed by section 401(b)(1)(A) [21 USCS Section 841(b)(1)(A)].
Section 863. Drug paraphernalia
- It is unlawful for any person--
- to sell or offer for sale drug paraphernalia;
- to use the mails or any other facility of interstate commerce to transport drug paraphernalia; or
- to import or export drug paraphernalia.
- Anyone convicted of an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than three years and fined under title 18, United States Code.
- Any drug paraphernalia involved in any violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture upon the conviction of a person for such violation. Any such paraphernalia shall be delivered to the Administrator of General Services, General Services Administration, who may order such paraphernalia destroyed or may authorize its use for law enforcement or educational purposes by Federal, State, or local authorities.
For additional details about Federal illicit drug laws, visit:
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
U.S. Department of Justice (for table of penalties and information on drugs) http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/csa.html
Federal Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Violations
Federal guidelines focus most strongly on illicit drug use and distribution. The 1998 Campus Security Act says that students convicted for an illicit drug violation can be denied financial aid support for a specific period, in addition to other legal penalties.
Everyone must answer Question 23 on the FAFSA, "Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, and work-study).
- Generally, if you have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid, you will be ineligible for a period of time based on the type and number of convictions. If you answer "Yes" to this question, it is very important that you complete and submit the FAFSA to determine your eligibility. If you are submitting a paper FAFSA, you will be mailed a worksheet to assist you in determining whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid. If you are applying using FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov, you will be provided the electronic version of the same worksheet during your online session. If you need assistance or have any questions on how to answer Question 23, call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) for help from the Federal Student Aid Information Center.
- You have limited eligibility for federal student aid while you're incarcerated.
Even if you're ineligible for federal student aid because of a drug conviction, you should still complete the FAFSA because most schools and states use FAFSA information to award nonfederal aid.