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OWI and Jail Time

By Andrew Mishlove on December 28, 2018


A judge's gavel and the American flagIf you are arrested for drunk driving, you may face a number of stiff operating while intoxicated (OWI) penalties, including fines and jail time. While a judge will rule on the pealties specific in your case, having skilled OWI defense attorneys on your side can make a major difference on the outcome. The Wisconsin lawyers of Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC can provide you with sound legal counsel and peace of mind.

We’d like to go over the amount of jail time OWI offenders are required to serve. We’ll also note some ways that jail time can be reduced or avoided, and why having legal representation with you is crucial.

First Offense OWI Jail Time

For first offense OWIs, drivers will face no jail time. Keep in mind that the circumstances of the case may cause a judge to decide that jail time is warranted. In these situations, the first offense OWI will likely involve a collision or injury crash related to driving while intoxicated.

Second Offense OWI Jail Time

For second offense OWI, jail time can range from 5 days to 6 months. The exact amount of time will depend on the nature of the incident, with more jail time likely for particularly reckless incidents of driving while under the influence.

Third Offense OWI Jail Time

For a third offense OWI, the jail time can range anywhere from 45 days to 1 year. As with previous offenses, the amount of jail time is determined by the nature of the repeat offense as well as the circumstances of the traffic stop. The judge will make that final determination.

Increased Penalties for Young Passengers in Vehicle

If you are driving while intoxicated and there is a passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 16, the penalties for your OWI will be doubled. That could mean jail time for first offenders, and even an additional incarceration period for repeat offenders.

Community Service Instead of Jail Time

For some OWI cases, a judge may allow individuals to perform community service in lieu of jail time. For second-offense OWI, for instance, 30 days of community service may be ordered instead of time in jail. This decision is entirely up to the judge based on the nature of the offense.

Probation Instead of Jail Time

Jail terms may be suspended for certain OWI offenders if the judge orders probation instead of incarceration. For third offenses, the judge must still order the offender to serve at least 14 days in jail.

A Note on Additional Penalties

Keep in mind that jail time is just one penalty that OWI offenders will face. OWI charges also involve fines, OWI education, license revocation, and other potential punishments. These additional penalties can add up.

By having a skilled OWI attorney on your side, you can potentially have penalties lowered, which can make a major impact as you pay your debt back to society. We can help you with these legal matters, offering sound advice on what to do during the trial and afterward.

Learn More About OWI Cases

For more information about your legal rights and options following a traffic stop for intoxicated driving, be sure to contact an experienced OWI/drunk driving lawyer. The team at Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC is here to help. You can reach our Milwaukee office by phone at (414) 209-5724, our Oshkosh office at (920) 306-8419, our West Bend office at (262) 525-0591, and our Waukesha office at (262) 404-0851.

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