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Bucher Law Group, LLC

When Is a Wisconsin OWI Charge Considered a Felony?

Posted on in Drunk Driving

Milwaukee County drunk driving defense attorney

Compared to other states in the country, Wisconsin’s drunk driving or operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws are somewhat lenient. In Wisconsin, a first-time OWI offense is not subject to jail time; instead, it can result in a driver’s license suspension and a fine. Technically, a first-time OWI conviction is not a criminal offense; rather, it is a moving violation that carries a fine. Nevertheless, being charged with driving while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious situation that can carry stiff penalties, especially if someone commits multiple offenses. Although Wisconsin OWI laws are less strict than many other states’ laws, you can still be charged with a felony OWI, depending on the circumstances.

Felony OWI Charges

In Wisconsin, an OWI charge does not become a felony until you commit your fourth offense. Prior to a fourth-offense OWI charge, you may still face jail time, including up to one year for a third OWI offense. Here are the ways you can be charged with a felony OWI in Wisconsin:

  • Fourth-Offense OWI: This is classified as a Class H felony and carries a possible jail sentence of 60 days to six years, a fine of $600 to $10,000, and a two- to three-year driver’s license revocation.

  • Fifth- or Sixth-Offense OWI: Both fifth- and sixth-offense OWI charges are classified as Class G felonies. For a fifth- or sixth-offense charge, you face six months to 10 years in prison, fines of $600 to $25,000, and a two- to three-year driver’s license revocation.

  • Seventh- Through Ninth-Offense OWI: A seventh, eighth or ninth offense is charged as a Class F felony and can result in three to 12.5 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and a two- to three-year driver’s license revocation.

  • 10th- or Subsequent-Offense OWI: For a 10th or subsequent offense, you will be charged with a Class E felony, meaning you will face 4 to 15 years in prison, up to $50,000 in fines, and a license revocation of two to three years.

  • Causing Injury During OWI With Prior OWI: Even if you are only on your second OWI, you can face felony charges if you cause injury to another person and you have a prior OWI offense. This is a Class H felony and carries 30 days to one year in prison, fines between $300 and $2,000, plus a driver’s license revocation of one to two years.

  • Causing Great Bodily Harm During OWI: If you cause great bodily harm during an OWI, no matter the offense, you will be charged with a Class F felony. This carries up to 12.5 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and a two-year driver’s license revocation.

  • Homicide While OWI: Causing someone's death while operating a vehicle under the influence is classified as a Class D felony, which carries up to 25 years in prison. If you had a prior OWI offense, you will be charged with a Class C felony, which carries up to a 40-year prison sentence. Both felony charges can result in up to $100,000 in fines and five-year license revocation.

Contact a Waukesha County Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer 

Being accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious allegation. The consequences become even more severe if you are charged with a felony OWI. At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we can help you defend against any kind of OWI charge. Our dedicated legal team understands how mistakes can affect your driving record in addition to your personal and professional life. Call one of our skilled Milwaukee County OWI defense attorneys today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Source:

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

 

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