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What Are the Penalties for OWI in Wisconsin?

 Posted on February 11, 2020 in OWI

New Berlin OWI defense attorney

One of the most common crimes committed with a vehicle is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Wisconsin, this is referred to as operating while intoxicated (OWI). Some of the most deadly and serious car accidents occur because of people driving when they are drunk or high on drugs. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were nearly 30,000 OWI arrests that took place in 2015, with more than 5,000 alcohol-related car crashes. In the past few decades, more emphasis has been placed on preventing drunk driving, with one strategy being to increase the consequences for committing an OWI. In Wisconsin, penalties for OWI can range from a simple fine to jail time or felony charges, depending on the situation.

First-Offense OWI

In Wisconsin, a first-time OWI offense is not technically considered a criminal charge. Rather, it is classified as a petty offense that results in a fine and a driver’s license suspension. If you are caught driving while under the influence for the first time, you will be subject to a fine between $150 and $300, a $435 OWI surcharge, and a six- to nine-month driver’s license suspension. However, you can apply to get an occupational license immediately. An occupational license allows you to drive to certain places, such as work, school, church, or the grocery store. 

Second-Offense OWI

Second-time OWI offenses increase slightly in the severity of the consequences. If the second OWI is committed more than 10 years after the first, then it is treated as a first-time OWI. If the second OWI is committed less than 10 years after the first, then the offender faces a $350 to $1,100 fine, a $435 OWI surcharge, five days to six months in jail, and a 12- to 18-month driver’s license suspension. The offender must also wait at least 45 days to apply for an occupational license.

Third-Offense OWI

If you are convicted of a third OWI in Wisconsin, you can face even more ramifications. In addition to the standard $435 OWI surcharge, you also face fines that are increased to anywhere between $600 and $2,000. You could be sentenced to jail for 45 days up to one year. In addition, you could have your driver’s license suspended for two to three years.

Contact a Waukesha County OWI Defense Attorney 

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that you retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. OWI charges are serious and can affect your life much more than you may realize. An OWI conviction on your record can impact your future, both personally and professionally. At the law firm of Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, our diligent Oconomowoc criminal defense lawyers have the experience you need when defending against OWI charges. As a former Brookfield police detective, Attorney Peter Wolff has the knowledge needed to help you avoid a conviction at all costs. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 262-232-6699. We answer the phones 24/7.




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