What you need to know about multiple OWI offenses in Wisconsin

Everyone who lives in Wisconsin knows the prevalence of drinking. This is a state in which alcohol is a part of our culture. The sad fact is that drunk driving is an unfortunate part of that culture, too.

In fact, in 2020, Wisconsin was the 4th highest state ranked by percentage of drivers charged with drunk driving crimes.

Multiple offenses

In any state that has this kind of prevalence of drunk driving, it makes sense that the legislature would enact particularly harsh laws around multiple offenses. In Wisconsin, this is certainly true. In particular, the laws become extraordinary after the third conviction.

After a third Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, Wisconsin criminal laws include:

  • Extremely low blood-alcohol content (BAC) thresholds: For a conviction to stand, all you need is a .02 percent or higher BAC reading. This means that if a 200-pound man drinks a single beer before driving, he could be convicted of OWI per se for the amount of alcohol in his blood. After three convictions for OWI, the rule is very close to being a zero-tolerance policy.
  • Extremely harsh penalties: For a fourth OWI conviction in Wisconsin, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and six-year incarceration.
  • Extremely lengthy suspensions of driving privileges: In addition to the harsh criminal penalties for a fourth conviction, you could also have your license revoked for three years, in addition to a sobriety program. Further, these three years of license revocation are in addition to your incarceration.

These are serious penalties, indeed. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, it is critical to fight these charges aggressively. Even if it is only your first offense, the penalties are severe enough, and defeating the initial convictions can prevent the catastrophic fourth conviction before it can occur. Talk with an experienced attorney who can help you fight these charges.