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Punishment for a 7th OWI Offense in Wisconsin

By Andrew Mishlove on June 10, 2013


Wisconsin has strict laws governing Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), including harsh punishments for those who do so. Yet, statistics reported by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) show that the number of OWI arrests has increased.

Punishments for People with 7 OWI Convictions

WI 7th OWI In Wisconsin, a person who is convicted of a seventh OWI faces:
  • A fine of up to $25,000, though the fine is increased for those with a alcohol content of greater than 0.17, and
  • Imprisonment of up to 12.5 years. Any stay of execution of their term or pre-sentence release is not allowed by law until the offender has served the mandatory minimum term of three years.
  • License revocation for up to 3 years following imprisonment plus the installation of Ignition Interlock Device installed on each vehicle titled or registered in his or her name.
  • A year wait is required before he or she can apply for an occupational license, if the OWI conviction comes within 5 years of a previous conviction. Also, absolute sobriety is mandatory for any repeat offenders, who will have to follow a driver safety plan to be eligible for an occupational license.
Keep in mind that fines, license revocations, and terms of imprisonment are doubled if a passenger under the age of 16 or a pregnant woman is in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.

A person convicted of a 7th OWI is required to complete an alcohol or drug assessment at an approved facility within 45 days of their conviction. The assessment counselor will develop a driver safety plan and may recommend drug or alcohol education and treatment plan. The assessment is shared with the court and used to determine an education or treatment plan, as well as eligibility for an occupational license.

Legal News for Repeat OWI Offenders

Earlier this month, the Pierce County Herald reported that the state Assembly Judiciary Committee held a public hearing regarding a bill that would establish a mandatory minimum three-year imprisonment term for any driver convicted of a 7th OWI.

Though no vote has been taken regarding the bill, it warrants attention as it could have a significant effect on those who have been charged in Wisconsin as repeat drunk driving offenders.

Last year, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) introduced legislation that would toughen Wisconsin OWI laws for repeat offenders, which, according to the Journal Sentinel, are some of the weakest laws in the nation.

Others are advocating for sobriety checkpoints (currently prohibited in Wisconsin), making the punishments for first-time offenders harsher and creating mandatory minimum jail terms all OWI offenders.

If you've been arrested for OWI and are a multiple offender contact our office immediately to find out your options.

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