If you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while in the state of Wisconsin, it is possible to end up with an OWI charge if a police officer catches you. Frequently called DUIs in other states, an OWI is an official traffic violation for “operating while intoxicated.”
Facing an OWI can present several challenges. However, understanding the possible OWI consequences can give you a clearer picture of your legal situation and the road ahead.
If you have never received an OWI before, the consequences that you face will be less severe. For example, first-time offenders may encounter up to a $300 fine while fines can be anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 for seventh, eighth or tenth offenses.
Driver’s license suspension
Although first-time offenses face lighter punishments, you can still lose your license with even one OWI. For first and second offenses, license suspension can be six to nine months, and additional OWIs can be for two to three years. In some cases, an OWI can cause a lifetime driver’s license revocation.
Most first-time OWI cases do not involve jail time unless there is a minor in the situation. However, subsequent offenses can lead to anywhere from five days to 15 years behind bars. Sentencing also varies depending on how many OWIs you have had. With your fourth offense, the charge becomes a felony which can extend the amount of time that the incident remains on your record.
OWI charges are serious. You should not delay speaking with a legal representative who can help you better understand your options.