Getting charged with a drunk-driving offense in Wisconsin can be an intimidating, stressful experience. The potential consequences if you’re convicted are substantial. You could face fines, jail time and license suspension — at a minimum. You could also put your future employment and housing opportunities at risk.
If you have been charged with OWI, it’s important to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Our Milwaukee OWI attorney at Schiro Criminal Defense is ready to provide the legal counsel and aggressive advocacy you’ll need every step of the way.
OWI LAWS IN WISCONSIN
In Wisconsin, a driver is considered under the influence of an intoxicant when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, if you have a BAC that is lower than this threshold, a police officer can still charge you with OWI if he or she believes your driving has been impacted by the consumption of drugs or alcohol.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR OWI IN WISCONSIN?
If you are convicted of an OWI in Wisconsin than you will always have that mark on your criminal record. However, a first offense in Wisconsin is not considered a criminal offense even though it is in every other state. The penalties for OWI are largely dependent on the defendant’s number of previous OWI convictions. The more prior offenses, the harsher the penalties. Offenders can also face more stringent punishments for any aggravating factors, such as a BAC of .15% or more, or when a minor under the age of 16 was in the vehicle.
Penalties of first offense OWI in Wisconsin include:
- A fine of $150 to $300
- An OWI surcharge of $435
- 6 to 9 months license revocation
- Mandatory Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment (AODA)
- Ignition interlock device (BAC .15% or higher)
- High-risk driver status, which means increased insurance premiums
- A license reinstatement fee of $200
- 5 days to 6 months in jail (if a minor under 16 was in the vehicle)
Penalties of a second offense OWI in Wisconsin include:
- A fine of $350-$1,100
- 5 days to 6 months in jail
- Ignition interlock device
- License revocation up to 18 months
Penalties of a third offense OWI in Wisconsin include:
- A fine of $600-$4,000
- 45s day to 2 years in jail
- You must complete an alcohol assessment
Penalties of a fourth offense OWI in Wisconsin include:
- Fines increase to $10,000
- License revocation for 3 years
- 60 days to 6 years in jail
- Drug and alcohol assessment
DRUNK DRIVING TERMS
In Wisconsin, the term “operating while intoxicated” or “OWI” refers to drunk driving. Some other common terms include:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Operating Under the Influence (OUI)
- Driving While Impaired (DWI)
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI)
- Operating A Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI)
- Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI)
- Impaired Driving
- Drink Driving
FILED SOBRIETY TESTS
In the state of Wisconsin, there 3 individual tests that make up The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST). If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, the officer could perform any of the three to determine your level of intoxication:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - In this test the officer will observe the eyes of the person in question as they slowly move a pen or small object back and forth to look for indicators in each eye that the person is impaired.
- Walk-and-turn test - This test is performed by instructing the person to take nine steps, touching heel-to-toe in a straight line and the return back. The officer is looking for signs that the person is impaired such as not being able to keep their balance, starting before the instructions are finished or not following the instructions properly.
- One-leg stand test - The officer will instruct the person to stand with one foot off the ground and hold it for about 30 seconds or until told to put it down. The officer looks for signs of impairment such as swaying, hoping or using their arms to balance.
LET US HELP BUILD A STRONG DEFENSE
Regardless of how many previous offenses you have, it is imperative that you fight your charges with a skilled criminal defense lawyer’s assistance. At Schiro Criminal Defense, we know how to weaken a prosecutor’s case against you. For instance, there could have been an error in the field sobriety test, or the officer may have pulled you over illegally. Whatever your situation, our Milwaukee OWI attorney can investigate to find the right tactic to use in defending against your charges.