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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Racine County criminal defense attorney OWI

If you have been arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you probably have several questions. You may be unsure of whether you will lose your driving privileges, be required to install a breath ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, or face jail time for drunk driving. The answers to these questions depend on the circumstances of the offense, whether or not you avoid conviction, your past criminal history, and other factors.  

What Is an IID?

An ignition interlock device is a device used to measure the amount of alcohol in someone’s breath. This information is then used to determine the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Once an IID is installed in a vehicle, the ignition will only engage after the driver submits a passing breath sample into the device. If the driver’s breath does not contain alcohol, the car will start normally. If the driver’s breath does contain alcohol, the vehicle will not start. There are many myths surrounding how to “cheat” an IID. However, IIDs are carefully calibrated, sophisticated devices that cannot be tricked. Using breath mints, eating certain foods, and other strategies for cheating an IID do not work.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers account for nearly 30 percent of fatalities in accidents involving drunk driving. While an adult may knowingly make the decision to get in a car with an intoxicated driver, children often have little choice in the matter. For this reason, OWI with a passenger under the age of 16 is a very serious offense in Wisconsin, and you should be aware of the potential consequences if you or someone you know has been arrested for this crime.

Penalties for OWI With a Child in Wisconsin

In general, the possible penalties for an OWI conviction in Wisconsin vary depending on the number of prior convictions on the offender’s record and the harm the offense has caused to other people. For example, a first offense typically results in only a fine of $150 to $300 and a revoked driver’s license for 6-9 months, whereas a fourth or subsequent offense, or one resulting in great bodily harm or death, can result in serious felony charges, with penalties that can amount to up to $100,000 in fines, up to 40 years in prison, and a revoked license for 5 years beyond the confinement sentence in the most serious cases.

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Jefferson County criminal defense attorney OWI

Drunk driving is taken seriously in the United States, with harsh penalties for a conviction. A conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) can result in serious consequences with long-term implications, especially if you already have a prior conviction. In Wisconsin, second-time offenders can face up to six months in jail, over $1,000 in fines, and a revoked driver’s license for up to 18 months, and the penalties only grow for additional offenses. However, even if you are convicted for a repeat offense, you may be able to reduce your sentence through Wisconsin’s Safe Streets option.

What Is Wisconsin’s Safe Streets Option?

The Safe Streets option is available in several Wisconsin counties, including Waukesha, Milwaukee, Jefferson, Walworth, Dodge, and Racine. Its purpose is to help non-violent offenders with alcohol and drug issues achieve sobriety by offering reduced jail sentences for those who successfully complete an alcohol or drug treatment program as part of their probation. The Safe Streets option can only be used once in a person’s lifetime, but it can make a significant difference if you are facing conviction for one of the following offenses:

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Walworth County criminal defense attorney OWI

Drunk driving is a threat to everyone on Wisconsin’s roads, resulting in over 5,000 car accidents each year and over 30 percent of the state’s annual car accident fatalities. For this reason, Wisconsin treats operating while intoxicated (OWI) as a serious criminal offense, with possible penalties including 10 years or more in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. However, first-time offenders in Wisconsin usually do not face criminal charges, and are therefore unlikely to see the full extent of these penalties. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can work to ensure a fair outcome for your case, allowing you to reform your behavior without an excessive negative impact on your life.

How Does Wisconsin Define Operating While Intoxicated?

A person over the age of 21 can be arrested for OWI if he or she is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, as determined by a blood or breath test at the time of the traffic stop. However, even if your BAC is below 0.08, an officer may arrest you if he or she has reason to believe that alcohol or any other drug is impairing your ability to drive safely.

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Ozaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

Wisconsin has long been criticized for being the last state in the country to not criminalize a person’s first offense for operating a vehicle while they are intoxicated (OWI). While efforts are continuously being made to strengthen penalties for first-time OWI convictions, existing punishments for multiple OWI convictions can be strict, especially if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is relatively high when you are pulled over. Being convicted of an OWI not only means that you could face immense fines and other penalties but depending on your circumstances, this could also mean you now have a criminal record that could affect you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with an OWI, you should speak with a Wisconsin OWI criminal defense attorney right away to protect your rights and driving privileges. 

Prohibited BAC Levels

In the state of Wisconsin, there is more than one way the law classifies whether a person is “intoxicated” when driving. You are considered to be operating while intoxicated if you:

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