Wisconsin Drunk Driving DUI OWI Penalties 

It’s the weekend and you meet a couple friends out at the bar. You have a couple drinks; maybe take a shot or two. Then you grab for your keys, head for the door, jump in your car and head for home.

As you drive, the flashing red and blue lights appear behind you.  The poison feeling in your stomach of humiliation and regret immediately floods your thoughts. You know that you had a few drinks and you worry about what will happen. Wisconsin Drunk Driving Penalties may range from possible jail time, large fines, Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), License Suspension/Revocation, Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment / Treatment, and mandatory attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

First Offense

When those handcuffs are placed around your wrists, the first thought is how long you will be in jail. If you have never been arrested for a serious criminal offense before, this can be a very scary thought. In Wisconsin a first offense drunk driving is a traffic violation meaning you will not face jail time. However, if you have a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest, you will face jail time and a Felony charge. Other penalties will be include a fine, license suspension ranging from 6 months to a year, AODA assessment, Victim Impact Panel, and potential installation of an IID if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .15.

Second, Third, and Fourth Offenses

By this time those handcuffs placed around your wrists may bring back the memory of your prior offense(s), and the same feelings of guilt and regret. Under Wisconsin law, second through fourth offense drunk driving are considered misdemeanors in Wisconsin. Misdemeanors include the possibility of up to one year in county jail. Your license will be suspended for a minimum of a year, mandatory installation of an IID on all vehicles in your name for as little as one year, and an alcohol assessment and treatment. You can expect these penalties to increase if you are involved in an accident or have a hight BAC. A fourth offense occurring within 5 years of a prior offense is a Felony.

Fifth and Subsequent Offenses

Fifth and subsequent drunk driving convictions are Felonies under Wisconsin law.  A felony includes potential prison time and much higher fine amounts along with an AODA assessment and license revocation.

Driver’s License Suspension

As a penalty for getting a DUI charge, your license will be suspended.  At this point, you may be eligible for an occupational license. In order to obtain an occupational license, you will have to show proof of insurance. You will need serious risk insurance, which may be 55-75% higher than your current rate.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

This device is a handheld “breathalyzer” that is installed in your vehicle. You must blow into this device prior to starting and operating the vehicle. An IID costs around $1,000.00 a year to install.

Court Ordered Alcohol Assessment

A court ordered alcohol assessment is an assessment where your drinking habits are examined to determine whether counseling is needed and to what extent. If you have to fulfill a court ordered assessment, there are many locations in the county you live.

Victim Impact Panel (VIP)

In some instances, this is a penalty for drunk drivers. You will go before a group of people who have been seriously impacted by the effects of drunk driving. They will share their stories of emotional and mental hardships brought on by driving under the influence.

Hiring an Wisconsin Drunk Driving Attorney

It is important to hire an attorney with experience in Wisconsin DUI Defense. If you have been charged with an OWI/DUI offense, contact Wisconsin DUI Attorney Nathan J. Dineen of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. You may complete and Submit a DUI Case Review or contact him toll free at 1-877-384-6800. Attorney Dineen practices solely in DUI Defense and is a member of the National College of DUI Defense.  He is certified in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE). He understands what you are feeling and the process ahead of you. Remember to think before you drink, as it may affect you personally, financially, and professionally.

Nathan J. Dineen