Fourth Offense OWI: Lifetime Driver’s License Revocation and 0.02 PAC By Andrew Mishlove on January 22, 2024

Law enforcement vehicle with lights and sirens on at night

A fourth OWI/DUI is considered a Class H felony in Wisconsin. Penalties for a fourth offense OWI/DUI in Wisconsin include up to six years imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000. Yet fines and jail time do not convey the full extent of the hardships you will face with a fourth conviction. It can affect your life and livelihood for the foreseeable future, and also increase the chances of future OWI/DUI convictions for the rest of your life.

I want to focus on two important aspects of fourth offense OWI/DUI:

  1. The potential lifetime revocation of your driving privileges
  2. The fact that you can get convicted of a fourth OWI/DUI with a BAC of just 0.02

Permanent License Revocation for Fourth Offense OWI/DUI

Your driver’s license will be revoked for the rest of your life if your fourth OWI/DUI was within 15 years of your third conviction.

If the fourth OWI/DUI was more than 15 years after your previous conviction, your driver’s license will be revoked for two to three years.

No Occupational Permit for at Least 10 Years

In second-offense and third-offense OWIs in which no one is injured, a driver can apply for an occupational permit 45 days after an alcohol conviction. For second-offense and third-offense drug-related OWI convictions, a driver may apply for occupational permits after 60 days and 90 days, respectively.

For a fourth OWI/DUI with a permanent revocation, the driver is not eligible for an occupational permit after their conviction. Instead, a driver with a fourth OWI/DUI must wait 10 years before they can apply for reinstatement of their license.

Qualifications for Reinstatement

Once 10 years have passed, you can apply for license reinstatement.

A person with four OWI/DUI convictions must meet the general requirements for reinstatement and also fulfill these additional requirements:

  1. They have not been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies related to the operation of a motor vehicle within the 10 years of applying for reinstatement.
  2. They have completed an approved alcohol or drug assessment by a public treatment facility within 45 days of applying for reinstatement.

A BAC of 0.02 on a breathalyzer as a person wonders if they are sober enough to drive

A 0.02 BAC Is Enough for a Fourth Offense OWI/DUI

If you have three prior OWI/DUI convictions in the state of Wisconsin, you can be charged with a fourth OWI/DUI even if your BAC is under 0.08. This is because of the state’s prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) laws.

PAC and Third Offense OWI/DUI Convictions

After three OWI/DUI convictions, you become subject to a PAC of just 0.02. This 0.02 PAC remains in effect for the rest of your life. That means you could get a fourth OWI/DUI in Wisconsin if you drive after having just one or two beverages, even if it’s been decades since your third conviction.

For perspective, a person with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) who is held to a higher standard is considered too intoxicated to drive with a 0.04 BAC.

Fines for a Fourth OWI/DUI

Those charged with a fourth OWI/DUI face fines ranging from $600 to $10,000. These fines may be doubled if there was a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest.

Fines for a fourth OWI/DUI can also be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled depending on the driver’s BAC at the time of arrest. A BAC of 0.25 or higher could mean fines as high as $40,000.

Jail Time for a Fourth OWI/DUI

A fourth OWI/DUI conviction carries a minimum 60-day jail sentence. The maximum prison sentence for a fourth OWI/DUI is six years, with a three-year maximum period of initial confinement.

Jail time may be doubled if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.

Other Ways a Fourth OWI/DUI Will Affect Your Life 

In addition to the above, there are other ways a fourth OWI/DUI conviction can affect your life:

  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) - Even if you are not allowed to drive, you will be required to install an IID in every vehicle you own and pay monthly maintenance fees at your expense. This device must remain in your vehicle(s) for one to three years plus the length of your confinement.
  • Voting Rights - As a felon, you will not be able to vote in Wisconsin until you have fulfilled all conditions of your sentence and are no longer on probation, parole, or extended supervision (this is known as being “off paper”).
  • Owning a Firearm - You are prohibited from possessing a gun in Wisconsin if you are convicted of a felony.
  • Housing, Employment, and Loans - A felony on your criminal record could lead to challenges when finding a place to live, interviewing for jobs, and applying for a mortgage or other kinds of loans.

Scales of justice and judge's gavel

Facing a Fourth OWI/DUI Charge? You Need Board-Certified Defense Specialists

A fourth OWI/DUI can set you back and derail different aspects of your personal and professional life. You need defense attorneys on your side who understand all aspects of OWI/DUI law and can fight to get your charges dropped or reduced.

At Mishlove & Stuckert, you'll have nationally recognized defense attorneys on your side.

We Are Wisconsin’s ONLY Board-Certified Drunk Driving Defense Specialists

As the only board-certified drunk driving specialists in Wisconsin, we are ready to handle complex OWI/DUI cases.

We Understand the Science of BAC Testing

We have technical training in blood science and BAC testing, which allows us to consider different variables that may affect the accuracy of blood, urine, and hair samples.

We Focus on Your Story and Why It Matters

We always emphasize your story. That means your upbringing, your career, and what your future holds. Centering your story in a defense strategy reminds the jury that they are not just pondering the law but deliberating the fate of a real person.

Request a Free Consultation at Our Law Firm

If you’re facing a fourth or subsequent OWI/DUI charge, contact our Wisconsin OWI/DUI defense law firm today. During a free consultation, we can review what happened and give you advice on what steps you need to take next. Mishlove & Stuckert has offices in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Oshkosh, and West Bend.



Andrew Mishlove

About Andrew Mishlove
A board-certified OWI defense specialist, Andrew Mishlove has practiced law in Wisconsin since 1981. He is a nationally recognized figure when it comes to drunk and intoxicated driving defense. Mr. Mishlove is the author of Wisconsin OWI Defense: The Law and Practice and is on the Board of Regents of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).

Read Mr. Mishlove's Full Bio | All Posts by Mr. Mishlove

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Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law

Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law has been rated the #1 OWI/DUI law firm in the state by Wisconsin Law Journal Reader Rankings. Our OWI/DUI specialists have been highly rated by organizations including: 

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To speak with one of our board-certified OWI/DUI defense specialists, request a consultation online or call us at (414) 332-3499.

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