First Offense OWI
Even if it is your first offense, a drunk driving conviction can remain on your record forever and have life-changing penalties.
Our Wisconsin DUI lawyers at Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC can help you keep your license and avoid high fines and other severe consequences.
So what should you do if you are facing OWI or DUI charges?
Charged With A First Offense OWI?
Request a hearing within 10 days – or else…!
If you submitted to a chemical breath or blood test other than the on-scene hand-held breath test device, you should have received a document titled “NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUSPEND” if your breath or blood test result was .08 or higher.
You have ten days from the notice date to request an administrative hearing with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
These hearings are limited in scope, but are the only way to attempt to avoid a pre-conviction suspension. They can also play a huge role in your OWI case’s strategy.
Failing to request a hearing within the first ten days will result in an automatic six-month suspension of your driving privileges, which begins thirty days from the notice date. While requesting the hearing does not guarantee you will not be suspended, it does give you an opportunity down the road to request that the court stay your suspension — essentially putting it on pause — while the case is pending. If you drive for a living, or if you cannot afford to have any type of driving restriction on your record, it is imperative that we help you handle this hearing.
Your driver’s license can be revoked
If convicted of first offense OWI or first offense PAC, you face a six- to nine-month driver’s license revocation. As long as there is no additional Refusal violation associated with your case, you should be able to obtain an occupational license that will allow you to drive to and from work within set time periods.
If you were administratively suspended prior to a conviction, you should receive credit towards your revocation for the amount of time that you were suspended (up to six months).
You may need to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
If you submitted to a chemical test of your breath or blood and the result came back .15 or higher, you face a one-year ignition interlock device (IID) order. This additional penalty will restrict you for a year from driving any vehicle not equipped with an IID. This can even include company vehicles; there are no exceptions. Our firm has had great success fighting breath and blood tests to relieve defendants of this penalty.
An IID order will also require you to install an IID in every vehicle registered or titled to you. Judges have the authority to exempt certain vehicles from this order (such as a car being solely driven by one’s spouse, or a vehicle that is in storage or in a non-drivable condition), but, if granted, you may not drive the exempted vehicle(s) while the IID order is in effect.
A violation of an IID order may result in additional criminal charges being brought against you.
You will be sentenced to treatment
You must complete the Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment at the appropriate facility in the Wisconsin county where you reside, along with recommended treatment courses and/or a driver’s safety plan.
If you do not live in Wisconsin, you will have to follow through with an equivalent alcohol treatment plan in the state where you live if you ever intend to reinstate your Wisconsin driving privileges.
You face stiff fines
A person convicted of first offense OWI/PAC must pay a forfeiture of from $150.00 to $300.00, plus additional court costs. Additional court costs vary throughout the different Wisconsin jurisdictions.
If you refuse to be tested…
Earlier in the year 2016 the legislature authorized judges to issue warrants for forced blood draws in first offense, civil traffic OWI cases.
Refusals are often more difficult to fight than OWI or PAC violations. The penalties for a first offense Refusal are actually more severe than those for a first offense OWI or PAC violation.
If this is your first offense OWI and you refused to submit to the chemical breath or blood test after being read the “Informing the Accused” form, law enforcement should not have executed a forced blood draw. You should have received a document titled “NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE.”
You have ten days from the notice date on that document to request a Refusal Hearing before the Court. Failure to request the hearing in the appropriate time period will result in an automatic Refusal conviction.
In 2013 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that courts do not have authority to reopen these cases if a person does not make the request in the ten-day window. If a timely request is not made, you will have no recourse. If the Court finds the Refusal to be “unreasonable,” you face a one-year revocation of your driving privileges.
For the first thirty days of that revocation, you are prohibited from driving at all. After thirty days you may try to obtain an occupational work license for the remainder of the revocation. You are also subject to the one year IID requirement and alcohol and other drug assessment. There is no fine or forfeiture penalty for a refusal violation.
Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law
Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law has been rated the #1 DUI law firm in the state by Wisconsin Law Journal Reader Rankings. Our DUI specialists have been highly rated by organizations including:
- Super Lawyers
- Better Business Bureau
To speak to one of our board-certified DUI defense specialists, request a consultation online or call us at (414) 332-3499.
"Mr. Mishlove was worth every penny and then some. I would consider him the Michelangelo of the DUI defense world. He is professional, dedicated, and pours his heart into his job. I would give him 10 stars if I could."Ronald S.