Many people say, “Shouldn’t all drunk driving accidents have punitive damages?”
The case law in Wisconsin makes clear that they are eligible for punitive damages, but probably not for a first offense. That has generally been the rule of thumb that most courts operate under.
It doesn’t mean that you could never get punitive damages on a first offense. However, generally speaking, you do not see punitive damages on the first offense of drunk driving. They are more commonly seen for drunk drivers with multiple drunk driving violations.
What about aggravating factors in a first-time DUI where they are at three times the limit? Could there be punitive damages then??
The caselaw is clear that would be pretty unlikely. What you wouldn’t see and the reason that it’s more common with multiple drunk drivers is simply that they already knew what their limit was. They’ve already been punished for it once, and there is no way they didn’t know about that going into the event itself.