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Penalties for an OWI in Wisconsin


On Jan. 1, 2017 New OWI Penalties in Wisconsin went into effect making the penalties for multiple offenders more severe.

If you’ve been arrested you may be wondering what are the OWI penalties in Wisconsin? The penalties you’re facing for your first, second, third, or subsequent OWI convictions are harsh and could even vary from county to county. They might change based on the type of license you have.If you received a “Notice of Intent to Suspend” you must request a hearing within 10 days – or you will lose your license!

Naturally, the penalties you face may depend on the skills of the Wisconsin DUI lawyers you retain. The right help can mean everything to your case.

What if it’s my first offense?

  • If this is the first time you’re facing OWI charges in Wisconsin, you may face a fine of $150 – $300, plus substantial court costs.
  • You don’t typically face jail time. That can change if you have a passenger who is less than 16 years old, though. Then you may have to serve up to 6 months in jail.  Also, if you injure someone, you may have to serve a jail sentence.
  • Your driver’s license will be revoked for 6 to 9 months.
  • If you have a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher, you will also have to have your vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock device, at your expense.
  • You can apply for an occupational license immediately.
  • You will need to have an alcohol assessment.
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license.

What are the punishments for the second OWI in Wisconsin?

  • The fine can be up to $1,100, plus substantial court costs.
  • You will serve from 5 days to 6 months in jail.
  • You could have your license revoked for 18 months.
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device.
  • You can’t apply for an occupational license until 45 days after conviction.
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment.
  • You face 6 demerit points on your license.

It’s my 3rd OWI in Wisconsin. What are the penalties?

  • The fine is up to $2,000, but this can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending on the alcohol level.
  • You will serve a jail term of 45 days to a year.
  • Your license will be revoked for 2 to 3 years.
  • You must have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • You can’t apply for a hardship license for 45 days.
  • You must have an alcohol assessment.
  • 6 demerit points are applied to your license.

What happens after the 4th OWI?

  • You will be charged with a felony.
  • Face up to $10,000 in fines. Again, these can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending on the alcohol level.
  • Maximum prison time of 6 years, with a maximum period of initial confinement of 3 years, and a minimum of 60 days.
  • Your license will be revoked for up to 3 years.
  • You must have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • You can’t apply for a hardship license for 45 days.
  • You must have an alcohol assessment.
  • 6 demerit points are applied to your license.

What are the charges on the 5th OWI?

On either the 5th or 6th OWI, all of these may apply.

  • The fine is up to $10,000.
  • You will get anywhere from a 6-month to a 10-year prison term, with the first five years actually spent in prison.
  • Your license will be revoked for up to 3 years.
  • You must have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • You can’t apply for a hardship license for 45 days.
  • You must have an alcohol assessment.
  • 6 demerit points are applied to your license.

What happens on the 7th OWI?

As with the 5th and 6th OWI convictions, the penalties for the 7th, 8th, and 9th are all in line with each other.

  • The fine is up to $25,000.
  • You will get a maximum prison term of 12.5 years with a maximum period of initial confinement of 7.5 years, with a minimum of 3 years.
  • Your license will be revoked for up to 3 years.
  • You must have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • You can’t apply for a hardship license for 45 days. .
  • You must have an alcohol assessment.
  • 6 demerit points are applied to your license.

All 10th and subsequent offenses will have an maximum prison term of 15 years, with a maximum period of initial confinement of 10 years, with a minimum of 4 years.

What is the penalty for causing an injury while intoxicated?

There are actually two sets of penalties under these circumstances. On 1/1/17 the definition of “injury” is expanded, so that almost anyone in an accident with a drunken driver may claim an “injury,” even if they were not technically hurt. If you cause an injury with no prior offense and you don’t refuse chemical testing, you face fines of up to $2,000, and you could spend up to a year in jail. Your license will be revoked for up to 2 years and, if you have a BAC of .15 or higher, you will have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your car.

If you have any prior offenses or you refuse the chemical test, you face up to $10,000 in fines and up to 6 years in prison with the other penalties. Those penalties increase substantially if you have a minor passenger in the car.

Those accidents that cause great bodily harm to the victim, which essentially means an injury that creates a strong risk of death or causes some permanent damage like disfigurement, extensive loss or impairment of some part of the body or organ or any other serious  injury, come with fines of up to $25,000. They’re considered a Class F felony, and you can serve up to 12.5 years in prison. Your license can be revoked for two or more years, and if your BAC is more than .15 or if this is a repeat offense, your vehicle will be equipped with an IID for up to two or more years. As with other kinds of accidents, the penalties increase for those who have a minor or a pregnant woman in the car.

What if I cause a deadly accident while drunk driving?

If you kill someone, you face up to $100,000 in fines and 25 years in prison. That number increases to 40 years if you’ve ever had another offense. Your license will be revoked for 5 years, and you can’t apply for a hardship license until 120 days has passed. If you’ve had a previous offense, you can’t apply for 12 months. An alcohol assessment is required, and 6 demerit points are applied to your license.

Is there a penalty for refusing the tests?

There are penalties for refusing the test. The first time it happens, your license is revoked for a year, and your car is equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device. You must wait to apply for a hardship license for 30 days. The second time it happens, you face a two year revocation, as well as an Ignition Interlock Device. You can apply for a hardship permit after 90 days. The third time, you will lose your license for 3 years, end up with an Ignition Interlock Device, and you won’t be able to apply for a hardship license for 120 days.

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