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OWI/DUI That Results in Property Damage

By Andrew Mishlove on January 02, 2020


Aftermath of an auto collisionAccording to numbers compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the annual cost of drunk driving collisions is more than $44 billion. The cost of property damage in an individual alcohol-related crash can range from around $2,000 to more than $15,000. That number doesn’t even take into account additional costs for medical care and additional expenses.

If you’ve been in a drunk driving collision that results in property damage, you need to speak with a Wisconsin OWI/DUI lawyer. Attorneys Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert discuss property damage penalties and how they relate to drunk driving cases.

Examples of Property Damage

Property damage experienced in a drunk driving accident can vary. Sometimes just minor fender benders and damage to the vehicle occur. In a catastrophic accident, a vehicle may be totaled, and items within the car may also be seriously damaged.

Even then, the property does not have to be restricted to another vehicle or various objects in a vehicle. Driving into buildings and telephone polls or driving through someone’s lawn or land can also be classified as property damage.

Criminal Damage to Property in a Drunk Driving Collision

In addition to facing drunk driving charges, you may also be charged with criminal damage to property. In the state of Wisconsin, this charge is levied for the willful destruction of property.

Misdemeanor and Felony Damage to Property

In most cases, criminal damage to property is considered a misdemeanor, yet there are instances in which criminal damage to property is charged as a felony.

Damage to property is considered a felony in the following cases:

  • The damaged property is a highway or a vehicle, and the damage is such that it could cause injury to another person or may cause further future property damage
  • The damaged property belongs to a public utility or “common carrier,” and the property damage is likely to result in an interruption or impairment of service
  • The damaged property is owned by someone serving on a jury or who served on a jury, and the property damage is part of a threat or retaliation
  • The property damage is valued at more than $2,500
  • The property damage is committed on state-owned land to a fixture of the land that holds significance to the state and its people
  • The property damage is done to plants or crops
  • The damaged property is a machine that contains money, the damage was part of an attempt to commit theft, and the damage is valued at between $500 and $2,500

If none of the above applies, the property damage is treated as a misdemeanor.

Penalties for Criminal Damage to Property

Penalties for Class I felony damage to property include:

  • Up to 3.5 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Penalties for Class A misdemeanor damage to property include:

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Keep in mind that there are additional penalties for any other charges in your drunk driving case.

Learn More About OWI

If you live in Wisconsin and are facing OWI charges, be sure to contact our team of drunk driving attorneys. The lawyers of Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC are here to offer insight and guidance. You can reach us in Milwaukee at (414) 206-6919, in Oshkosh at (920) 306-8500, in West Bend at (262) 239-4828, and in Waukesha at (262) 207-4527.

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