Wisconsin Drunk Driving Law for the Illinois Driver

Illinois and Wisconsin have distinct drunk driving laws, which can complicate matters when Illinois residents are charged with operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin.

This is why it is important to work with an attorney who understands the unique legal processes involved.

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law are authorities on Wisconsin drunk driving laws who can help you achieve the best possible results...

We Defend Illinois Drivers
Accused of OWI

wisconsin and illinoisWisconsin drunk driving laws are complex, and they become even more so when you cross the state line from Illinois.  Here is a scenario we often see: an Illinois driver is arrested for DUI (known as OWI in Wisconsin) and asks the police officer what will happen to his license.  Drivers like this are usually told two things:

  • Since he has an Illinois license, the case doesn’t matter.
  • He needs an Illinois lawyer to handle consequences at home.

Both of these are absolutely wrong. So what is the best course of action for an Illinois resident facing an OWI charge?

Illinois Drivers Need a Wisconsin Lawyer Because:

A Wisconsin OWI Will Affect You in Your Home State

Lawyers who specialize in these types of cases are familiar with the complex laws in Wisconsin, as well as how those laws affect drivers from neighboring states.

You Could Lose Your Illinois License

While many Wisconsin OWI penalties only apply within the state's borders, the state will report the conviction to Illinois. The state of Illinois will revoke your license according to Illinois DUI penalties, which are more harsh than Wisconsin's OWI penalties.

An Attorney Can Minimize the Consequences

A number of strategies can be employed to mitigate the damage of an OWI case for an out-of-state driver, including using Wisconsin refusal laws or changing residency to the State of Wisconsin. During your consultation, our attorneys can determine the best approach to having your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

We Have Partnerships with Attorneys in Illinois

At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law, we know the complicated interstate issues surrounding drunk driving arrests. We work closely with the best Illinois lawyers to defend your case and help you reinstate your license.

Watch Our Video
Detailing the Impact These Cases Can Have on Illinois Drivers

An out-of-state DUI can be stressful and confusing. At Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law,  we can help Illinois residents handle their arrest. While we operate out of Wisconsin, our skilled lawyers are familiar with interstate laws and have valuable partnerships with attorneys in Illinois who can help you reinstate your license if you are convicted.

Check Out Our Positive Client Reviews


Kimberly Benjamin

January, 2020

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Andrew Mishlove is one of the best DWI defense lawyers I’ve ever met.  His knowledge of how to defend a client and win is beyond comparison.  If you need a lawyer who knows how to really help you in a difficult time and you want the best chance of winning, you should call his law firm!

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Sandy Reitman

December, 2019

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Mishlove & Stuckert are true experts in the field. They are committed to their clients beyond the courtroom, ensuring a smooth process during a difficult time for anyone involved in a case. The kinship between the lawyers is palpable, not to mention a warm and engaging staff. I highly recommend!

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Talk to the Leading Experts
on Defending Illinois Drivers Accused of OWI in Wisconsin

Clients can count on Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law, to help them get the best possible outcome in their OWI case. In fact, Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert are the only true NCDD-American Bar Association accredited DUI defense specialists in the state of Wisconsin. Our lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience obtaining dismissals and reduced charges for clients facing a range of OWI-related charges, including OWI injury cases, OWI drug cases, OWIs with minor passengers, and OWIs involving vehicular homicides.

We have four conveniently located offices in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, West Bend, and Waukesha. For assistance with your case, we invite you to contact us online or call us at:

(414) 206-6897


Illinois DUI vs. Wisconsin OWI:
What Are the Key Differences?

If drivers aren't represented by a Wisconsin DUI lawyer, they can find themselves in trouble with the Illinois Secretary of State. For Illinois drivers stopped in Wisconsin, the case is more serious than if they had been stopped in Illinois. Why?

Plea Bargains Are Common in First DUI Offenses in Illinois

Even though an Illinois DUI is a very serious charge, the actual consequences for a person charged with first-offense DUI in Illinois are not as serious. Typically, in Illinois, they plea bargain and receive a reduced charge or “court supervision.”

As a Result, Charges and Penalties Are Typically Reduced in Illinois

Under this type of negotiation, the Illinois driver’s license is suspended for a few months. If the driver completes court-ordered classes, the case is dismissed, and there is no DUI on the record.

A First DUI Conviction in Illinois Carries More Serious Consequences

By the time Illinois drivers get their first DUI conviction, they will have had at least one other DUI arrest. Therefore, the consequences for a repeat offender in Illinois are quite severe and can include license revocation for an indefinite term of one year to life.

Plea Bargaining in Wisconsin OWI Cases in Limited

Plea bargaining is strictly limited by law in Wisconsin OWI cases. So, if you are charged with a first-offense DUI, a plea bargain is not the rule, it is a rare exception. If you win your case (as many of our clients do) you will have no conviction on your record. If you lose or plead guilty, however, you will have an OWI conviction on your record and may be subject to various penalties in Wisconsin, including some that can affect your driving status in Illinois.

See What Our Clients Have to Say about Us

“I’m an Illinois resident that got pulled over just before the border in Wisconsin. Andrew did an excellent job getting my charge reduced (which isn’t easy in Wisconsin) and preventing me from having to go through the nightmare of dealing with the elevated penalties Illinois applies to its drivers when they receive a DUI in Wisconsin. Would highly recommend.”

Do Any of These Penalties Apply in the State of Illinois?

It is important to know that most of these penalties only apply within the borders of Wisconsin. However, the state will report the OWI conviction to Illinois. Typically, the State of Illinois will issue a reciprocal revocation order. This means that the Illinois license will also be revoked, possibly for a long time.

License Revocation Penalties Are More Severe in Illinois


A Wisconsin OWI conviction will be treated as though it is a DUI conviction in Illinois. As a result, drivers will be subject to the harsher penalties set forth by the state of Illinois. Since a first DUI offense in Illinois is typically reduced, the first conviction is considered more serious and treated as a repeat offense. The first DUI conviction in Illinois has the same consequences as if it were the second or third arrest because there is no eligibility for court supervision in Illinois for a Wisconsin conviction.

An Attorney Can Reduce the Consequences of the Case


So, what happens? The Illinois license is revoked indefinitely for a term of one year to life. Because a Wisconsin OWI can have such a significant impact on driving status in Illinois, it is critical that drivers discuss their case with the team at Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law. We will do everything we can to prevent an OWI conviction; if drivers are convicted, we work with skilled attorneys in Illinois who can work with us to minimize the amount of time that your license is revoked in your home state.

Contact Our Practice
to Talk to the Lawyer Who Wrote the Book

Defense lawyer Andrew Mishlove is acknowledged as one of the state's leading experts in handling these types of cases for Illinois drivers. He literally wrote the book on the subject: Mishlove and Ramsell, Handling OWI Cases For Those Illinois Drivers, The Wisconsin Lawyer, March 2007.

At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law, we know the complicated interstate issues surrounding drunk driving arrests. We work closely with the best Illinois lawyers to defend your case and get the best possible results.

We have four conveniently located offices in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, West Bend, and Waukesha. Submit an online case evaluation request or call us today at:

(414) 332-3499

Wisconsin State Laws: Driving While Intoxicated 

According to WI state laws, it is illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle:

  • With a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher
  • While under the influence of an intoxicating substance
  • With detectable amounts of restricted controlled substances in the blood
  • While under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug

If a driver is a repeat offender with three or more previous OWI convictions, the BAC limit is lower, at 0.02.

Drivers under 21 years of age are subject to the absolute sobriety law and can't have any amount of alcohol in their system.

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Statutory Limits
on Penalties for OWI Convictions

When a person is convicted of OWI, a judge will determine how harsh the penalties will be. However, the judge has to remain within the statutory limits set forth by the state. When aggravating circumstances are involved, such as driving with a minor or pregnant woman, having a high BAC, or an accident causing injury or death, the consequences are even more severe. The general guidelines for first-time and repeat offenders are as follows:

Read More Client Testimonials

“A conviction on a first-offense in WI translates to severe consequences for IL residents, so I needed the very best representation possible. My research indicated this would be Andrew Mishlove. He lived up to—and exceeded—my expectations. He is tough and tenacious—not afraid of a fight—yet, caring and compassionate. Andrew, Sarah and the entire staff treat their clients with respect and dignity. They are always available to answer questions or meet when needed, thoroughly explaining each phase of the process. Andrew fought diligently on my behalf and against all odds, the case was dismissed! Andrew was a true Godsend and I’d recommend him in a heartbeat.” - James

Am I Required
to Submit to Testing?

field breathalyzer testMost drivers aren't legally obligated to submit to field sobriety testing. However, if you refuse a field sobriety test, you can expect to be taken into custody for further testing.

Under the state's Implied Consent law, any person who operates a motor vehicle is required to submit to chemical tests after being arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. This includes blood, breath, and urine tests. However, you are not required to take these tests in the field, and can instead request to go to the police station for testing.

If you refuse to take these tests entirely, the consequences are as follows:

Reach Out to an Attorney
for Help with Your OWI Case

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, working with a knowledgeable attorney can minimize the consequences or have the charges dropped altogether. At Mishlove and Stuckert, Attorneys at Law, our attorneys have 40 years of experience handling all types of OWI cases. We have four convenient office locations in Milwaukee, Oshkosh, West Bend, and Waukesha.

With so much at stake, it pays to enlist the help of attorneys who have dedicated their practice to defending clients who are facing these very serious charges. Contact our practice online or call us at:

(414) 332-3499

Read Testimonials about Our Team of Attorneys

“In 2010 I received an OWI and Refusal to submit to a chemical test in Wisconsin, Andrew Mishlove and my lawyer associate Lauren Stuckert were very knowledgeable with the IL Wisconsin problem. I was not convicted of DUI and was only convicted on the refusal charge which proved to be a benefit and a lesser penalty for me and my IL driver’s license. I will not have a DUI on my record and I will be forever grateful.”
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: 

  • Avvo™
  • Super Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell 
  • Better Business Bureau 

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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"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.

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