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What Are the Consequences for a First-Time OWI Offense in Wisconsin?

Posted on in Drunk Driving

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.

Typical Penalties for First-Time OWI

If you have been arrested for OWI for the first time with no prior record of alcohol or driving charges, your attorney may be able to negotiate to have the charges dismissed or present a case for your innocence. If you are convicted of OWI, you may face penalties including:

  • Fines between $150 and $300

  • Revocation of your driver’s license for 6-9 months; you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license that allows you to continue transportation for work and to maintain your household

  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug assessment, possibly resulting in the need for treatment or a driver’s safety plan

  • Required installment of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year if your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher at the time of your arrest

A first-time conviction will also likely stay on your record, meaning that subsequent OWI offenses can result in more serious penalties. You also may face greater penalties for a first offense if there are certain aggravating factors involved in your case, such as the presence of a minor in your vehicle, or the injury or death of anyone as a result of your impaired driving.

Contact a Waukesha County OWI Defense Attorney

A Wisconsin drunk driving charge can lead to significant penalties, not to mention a stain on your record. Regardless of the severity of the charges you face or your prior record, an experienced criminal defense attorney can give you the legal representation you need to achieve a fair outcome. At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we want to help you avoid excessive penalties and put you in a position to get your life back on track after your OWI arrest. Contact a Milwaukee County criminal defense lawyer today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/statistics/final.aspx

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/drunk-drv/ddlaw.aspx

https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/safety/education/drunk-drv/owi-penchrt.pdf

 

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