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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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Waukesha County OWI defense lawyer

Drinking alcohol is a large part of American culture, especially for younger people. Not surprisingly, those age groups are also the ones who are at a higher risk of being involved in drunk driving accidents. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 11,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2017. The NHTSA also states that the most effective way of stopping drunk driving accidents is through preventing them from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips that you can use to make sure you do not find yourself being charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin:

  • Make sure you have a designated driver. Before you even leave for the night, you should make sure you have a designated driver in place. This person should agree not to drink alcohol and promise to drive everyone home at the end of the night.

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Milwaukee County DWI AttorneyThere are multiple ways you can be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin, and all of them have serious consequences. You be charged with OWI if your blood-alcohol content is more than .08, if you have a detectable amount of an intoxicant or restricted controlled substance in your blood, or if you are under the influence of any drug or controlled substance.

It is never a good idea to get behind the wheel if you have had too much alcohol, or if you have taken illegal or prescription drugs that can negatively impact your ability to drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported about 32 percent of all fatal Wisconsin traffic accidents in 2016 were alcohol-related. 

If you are convicted of an OWI, you may face a lengthy license suspension or revocation. You could offset that inconvenience with an occupational license. Here are the details: 

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Waukesha, WI OWI defense lawyer DUI laws drunk drivingIn March 2018, a new Wisconsin OWI law was passed by Governor Scott Walker. The purpose of this law is to permanently revoke the driver’s licenses of individuals who have been convicted of four or more offenses related to drunk driving. The state of Wisconsin believes that anyone can make a mistake, but making the same mistake four times is inexcusable, and it is time to get repeat drunk drivers off the roads.

The new law states that if someone is convicted of four or more DUI-related offenses or had a second OWI in combination with two other OWI-related offenses (such as second-degree homicide involving a vehicle or injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle), their driver’s license will be permanently revoked by the Department of Transportation.

It is important to note that the fourth offense must arise within 15 years of the previous conviction. In the event someone has lost their license and is caught driving, they will be forced to pay a fine of $2,500 and may spend up to one year in prison. Second offenses may lead to a $10,000 fine and/or a year in prison.

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