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Will I Go to Jail For a First Time OWI in Wisconsin?

Posted on in OWI

Milwaukee, WI OWI Defense LawyerWhile everyone knows that operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a mistake, many thousands of people have a few too many drinks and then get behind the wheel of their car every year in Wisconsin. The majority of these people, while taking an enormous risk, will make it to their destination safely. Others will get caught in OWI checkpoints, while others will go on to cause serious or even fatal traffic accidents.

Because of the potential life-altering seriousness of OWI accidents, prosecutors are often eager to teach drunk drivers a lesson. If you were just caught driving drunk for the first time (or even driving under the legal limit, in some circumstances), you need to hire an experienced OWI defense attorney who will help you fight the charges.

Penalties for a First-Time OWI Offense

Many people’s first concern after getting arrested for an OWI is whether they will go to jail. For most, the answer is no –– as long as a minor under age 16 was not in the car and no car accidents occurred. 

But even without jail time, a basic first-time OWI can have serious consequences. A conviction carries fines and fees up to $735 and your license could be revoked for up to nine months. If you were very drunk and had a blood alcohol content of over .15 percent, you will need to install an ignition interlock device when you get your license back. This device will cost nearly $1,000 a year, which you will have to pay for yourself. 

If you had a minor in your car, fines increase substantially, an ignition interlock device is mandatory, and you can spend up to six months in jail. You will also have to attend a program about the risks of driving under the influence and will need to undergo a risk assessment to determine whether you need further substance abuse treatment. 

It is important to note that, even if your blood alcohol content is lower than .08 percent, you can still receive an OWI without also receiving a charge for operating a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration. Each person’s body handles alcohol differently and some people cannot safely drive a car with a blood alcohol content of even .05 percent. If a police officer sees you driving erratically or you fail sobriety tests, you may still get charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. 

Call a Waukesha County First-Time OWI Lawyer

People often think that getting an OWI for the first time is not likely to impact their life in a major way, but this is a mistake. A conviction for even your first OWI can have long-lasting consequences that make it difficult for you to drive, get a job, or pay for car insurance. Get help from an experienced Waukesha, WI first-time OWI lawyer with Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP and make sure your OWI does not affect you more than absolutely necessary. Call 262-232-6699 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 



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