DUI, or driving under the influence, is a commonly used and understood term. Similar to it but not quite as well-known is OWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated. OWI is essential driving under the influence, but it extends to all vehicles and not just automobiles. Both DUI and OWI are serious offenses with serious consequences.
As many as 1 in 4 Wisconsin drivers have driven while intoxicated. To this end, Wisconsin is committed to protecting its drivers and has established strict laws to make this happen. As a result, it’s extremely important for drivers to be aware of the penalties OWI carries with it in Wisconsin and what to do if you find yourself arrested and/or facing potential charges.
Here is a brief guide to the consequences of first, second and third offense OWI in Wisconsin.
What Are the Consequences of First Offense OWI in Wisconsin?
If found guilty of OWI, drivers face suspension of their license for 6 months unless contested. Drivers who refuse to take the accompanying chemical test face an additional 6-month of their license suspension.
First offense OWI does not carry a mandatory incarceration penalty. Fines range from $150 to $300, not withstanding additional fees based on court or accident costs. It is paramount in this process to secure legal counsel who can help navigate the process.
What Are the Consequences of Second Offense OWI in Wisconsin?
As would be expected, the consequences continue to heighten with each consecutive offense. A second OWI offense in Wisconsin results in probation, a year to 18 months of restricted license, fines ranging from $350 to $1100, mandatory jail time, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
The length of jail time and amount of fines depends on a number of varying factors including the driver’s record, the driver’s age, and whether or not anyone was seriously injured. Plea options exist, meaning it is important that the driver secure legal counsel.
What Are the Consequences of Third Offense OWI in Wisconsin?
In the event of a third OWI in Wisconsin, drivers face the loss of their license for 2 to 3 years. Important to note: Occupational licensing can be sought after 45 days. The fine increases to $2000 (and sometimes more, depending on whether or not a minor was in the vehicle during the offense). A jail time of 45 days to a year is typical.
Of interest: When a OWI case goes to court, officials rely on the previous 10 years of driving record when deciding the number of OWI offenses.
What Are the Consequences of More OWI in Wisconsin?
In each instance of a OWI in Wisconsin, the penalties continue to increase, meaning increased probation, longer jail time, bigger fines, and mandatory IID time.
Why Is It Important to Contact a Wisconsin OWI Attorney if You’re Arrested?
Wisconsin OWI attorneys are specifically equipped to help you navigate the confusing terrain that comes with an OWI charge. They have done their research and helped other drivers through the process in a number of different circumstances.
In the event that you are facing an OWI, you should contact a Wisconsin OWI attorney as soon as possible to see how you can be helped back onto the right track. The types and sizes of each penalty vary, and an experienced Wisconsin OWI attorney can help you make good decisions that save you time and money.
Have questions? Need more information? The Fitzgerald Law Firm is here to help. If you’ve been arrested for OWI in Beloit, or Madison Wisconsin, contact an experienced OWI Attorney in Beloit or Madison, Wisconsin today. Click here for a free consultation with the Fitzgerald Law Firm.
At The Fitzgerald Law Firm your initial consultation is always free and you will always meet directly with one of our attorneys. We understand that appointments during traditional working hours may not be convenient for all, and thus we strive to be available for evening, weekend, and off-site appointments. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Photo credit: Kenny Louie