Wisconsin DUI/OWI Defense Lawyers
Helping You Fight Drunk Driving Charges
Rarely does anyone set out to drink too much and then drive. In most cases, good people make an error in judgment. Sometimes, drunk-driving arrests occur even when there is no provable evidence.
No matter the reason, you need an attorney ASAP if you have been arrested for drunk driving.
At West & Dunn, we understand that the judicial and ancillary repercussions are life-altering. Each client can be assured that we take their freedom and liberty very seriously. Our priority is doing everything possible to diminish, minimize, or dissolve your criminal liability.
If you face a felony charge or believe you are under investigation, contact us immediately. There is no time to spare in creating a strong case.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, almost 28,000 people were arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in 2019. Almost 300 of those arrests were people under the age of 18. As of the end of 2019, almost 500,000 Wisconsin drivers had one OWI conviction.
Drivers over the age of 21 can be charged with OWI, sometimes referred to as DUI, in any of the following circumstances:
- They have a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater.
- They are under the influence of an intoxicant.
- They have a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood.
- They are under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug.
Drivers with three or more OWI convictions will be considered driving drunk and arrested for OWI if their BAC is greater than 0.02.
Drivers can be charged with Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) in the Badger State. This charge means your BAC was over the allowable limit but not necessarily that your ability to drive was compromised. OWI and PAC have the same legal consequences. You can be charged with either or both offenses.
Consequences of the First OWI/PAC Offense
First-time offenders will be fined between $150 and $300, plus a $435 OWI surcharge. Their driver’s license will be revoked for 6 to 9 months. If their BAC is 0.15 or higher, they will either have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle or participate in a 24/7 sobriety program for 1 year.
Penalties for Second and Subsequent OWI Convictions
As OWIs stack up on someone’s record, they can result in more severe repercussions. The penalties intensify if the second violation occurs within 10 years of the first.
A $435 OWI surcharge is added to all OWI convictions. All sentences are increased if a minor under the age of 16 is in the vehicle at the time of the violation.
- Second OWI Conviction: If more than 10 years have passed since the first conviction, the fine and license revocation are the same as the first. The fine goes up to $350-$1,100 if the second violation occurs within 10 years of the first. The driver’s license will be revoked for 12 to 18 months, and jail is possible. The jail term will be 5 days to 6 months.
- Third OWI Conviction: The fine will run between $600 and $2,000. A jail sentence of 45 days to 1 year can be imposed. Revocation of the license is 2-3 years plus the time of confinement. The 24/7 sobriety program will be mandated for 1 to 3 years plus the length of incarceration. An interlock ignition device can also be required when driving is allowed.
- Fourth OWI Conviction: Fines are getting steep at this point, ranging from $600 to $10,000. A fourth OWI is a Class H felony with prison time between 60 days and 6 years. A fourth offense means a lifetime license revocation. Once again, an IID or 24/7 sobriety program will be ordered.
- Fifth and Sixth OWI Conviction: This is a Class G felony carrying the possibility of up to 10 years in prison. Fines range between $600 and $25,000. The license will be revoked for up to 3 years plus the time sentenced to prison. The IID and 24/7 sobriety program applied here, too.
OWI penalties continue to escalate up to Class E felony on the tenth (or more) offense. Those convicted are subject to fines up to $50,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
Consequences skyrocket if someone is injured by an OWI driver. If someone is killed, the drunk driver can be sentenced to 25 years in prison if they had no prior OWI convictions, up to 40 years if they have prior convictions.
10 Days to Request Hearings
Time is critical after an OWI arrest. An administrative suspension review hearing must be requested within 10 days for a BAC over the legal limit. Without this hearing, the defendant will receive an automatic driver’s license suspension of six months.
Anyone who refuses a blood test also has only 10 days to request a refusal hearing or else their license will be automatically revoked for 12 months.
Been Arrested for OWI in the Milwaukee Area? Schedule Your Free Consultation Today.
As much as you would like the problem to disappear, you will be best served by contacting our astute attorneys to begin working on your case. We have a deep understanding of the law and the criminal justice system. Let us put that background to work for you.
There are defense strategies that can minimize or eliminate the consequences of OWI charges. We will examine every detail to build a strong case. We have the knowledge, the experience, and the tenacity that you need by your side.
Wisconsin’s Not a Drop Law
For underage drivers, there is no such thing as a legal BAC. They should have absolute sobriety. They cannot legally operate a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. Consequences include a $200 fine and a 3-month driver’s license suspension. If the violator is younger than 17, the penalties are more lenient. The fine and suspension are increased if a person younger than 16 was also in the vehicle.
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