What Is a Felony DUI/OWI in Wisconsin?

By Andrew Mishlove on November 02, 2019


A glass of liquor and car keysPeople in Wisconsin can trust attorneys Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert. Each has a strong reputation as a fair operating while intoxicated (OWI)/driving under the influence (DUI) lawyer. Our firm has helped countless people who’ve faced serious OWI charges, including felonies.

Not all OWIs are charged as felonies. We’d like to take a moment to consider what constitutes a felony OWI and the legal penalties a person will face in such situations.

A Fourth OWI Offense Is a Felony

As of April 25, 2016, a fourth OWI conviction is treated as a felony under state law. Prior to this, a fourth offense OWI was only considered a felony if it was committed within five years of the previous OWI.

Prohibited BAC for People with Three OWI Convictions

A fourth OWI could involve a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than .08. People with three prior OWIs on their record have a prohibited BAC while operating a vehicle.

Rather than having a BAC of .08, people with three prior OWIs can only have a BAC lower than .02 while driving. If you have three prior OWIs and have a BAC of .02 or higher when operating a vehicle, you will be charged with drunk driving for a fourth time, and it will be considered a felony.

Penalties for Fourth Offense OWI

The penalties for a fourth OWI in Wisconsin include:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • A maximum amount of six years in prison
  • Driver's license revocation for up to three years

Subsequent OWIs Are Also Counted as Felonies

Unsurprisingly, any OWIs past the fourth are also counted as felonies. Fifth, sixth, and all subsequent OWIs are subject to the prohibited BAC, and can involve increasingly higher fines and more severe penalties. For a tenth OWI, for instance, fines can be as high as $50,000 and may involve up to 15 years in prison.

Other Types of OWI Felonies

Multiple OWI arrests is not the only way to be convicted of a felony. There are additional situations in which an injury or fatality as a result of an OWI is considered a felony offense. That includes:

  • Causing an injury OWI when you have a prior OWI on your record
  • Causing great bodily harm when OWI
  • Homicide when OWI

In each of these cases, causing harm to another person while driving drunk or under the influence of drugs is classified as a serious criminal offense.

Penalties for Other Felony OWI Cases

The penalties for these other types of felony OWI cases can vary. Briefly, the penalties may include:

  • Causing Injury with Previous OWI - Fine up to $10,000; incarceration up to six years; driver’s license revoked for up to two years
  • Causing Great Bodily Harm While OWI - Fine up to $25,000; incarceration up to 12.5 years; driver’s license revoked for two years or more
  • Homicide While OWI - Fine up to $100,000; incarceration up to 25 years; driver’s license revoked for five years or more

How Our Attorneys Can Help with Your Case

In all of the above cases, it’s crucial that you have a skilled OWI defense attorney familiar with Wisconsin state laws. Our law firm will work to lower your legal penalties and help you receive a fair and legally sound hearing.

Speak with Skilled Drunk Driving Lawyers

For more information about legal options following a drunk driving charge, be sure to contact our skilled DUI/OWI defense attorneys. You can reach Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC at our office in Milwaukee by calling (414) 206-6918, our office in Oshkosh by calling (920) 306-8420, and at our office in Waukesha by calling (262) 207-4527.

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